Edgeville Buzz

Trumbull School Proposals Presented At Community Meeting


trumbullTrumbull Elementary, located at 5200 N Ashland, has been empty for the last several months due to last year’s Chicago Public School closings. But last night Alderman Patrick O’Connor of the 40th ward held an open community meeting at Trumbull that had the auditorium spilling over with people to discuss potential uses for the historic building.

Alderman O’Connor thanked the Board of Education for allowing the meeting to happen inside the actual school so the community could see the interior of the building. There were several proposals on the table, all of which aim to keep the actual structure and façade of the building.

Alderman O’Connor began by noting ‘That it is a very nice thing for our neighborhood to be able to keep the actual structure of the building. We feel very fortunate to be able to use what we have.” He explained that the Board of Education chose to close the building but they have not engaged in any discussions in using it for any board of education endeavors moving forward.

While many were interested in a discussion on how the property would be used with other existing public schools, that is not currently on the table. Bids will only be accepted if they fit within the boundaries set out by the RFP (Request For Proposal). The Alderman’s office will actively be soliciting feedback from the community throughout the process.


The proposals heard by the community were the following…

Cedar Street Companies and Brooklyn Boulders

The Cedar Street Companies group proposed a unique collaboration with partner company Brooklyn Boulders. Brooklyn Boulders Chicago will offer a progressive climbing wall, alternative fitness experiences, a collaborative working space all while providing an unconventional platform that brings the arts, music, culture, and entrepreneurial communities together. The company has had major success on the East coast and recently opened a location in the West Loop. Co-Founder of Cedar Street, Jay Michael cited his companies previous rehabbing of building developments as ‘adaptive re-use of historic buildings on the north side of Chicago’. Brooklyn Boulders Co-Founder Lance Pinn attended from NY and presented a video on some of the previous projects they developed in Brooklyn, Boston and the West Loop of Chicago. The group started in Brooklyn and aimed to satisfy a need for a more creative space in the neighborhood where those who don’t work beyond that of a typical nine-to-five work life. They began as a climbing wall facility and eventually added a collaborative work space where co-workers and telecommuters can rent space to work alongside others in a creative and inspiring environment. These collaborative work spaces are set up as a classroom type setting in which people can come and work together and have access to fitness activities and community gathering spaces. Currently there is no collaborative work space residing up north, although a significant portion of people living in Edgewater and Andersonville work from home. This would be a unique and new opportunity to fulfill that need. They plan to build 50-80 residential units above the ground level. They are also investigating a parking lot close to Trumbull, but noted that a great deal of their current members ride bikes and take public transportation. The building would not gut out the space but use the existing structure in place and design it in a modern way that compliments that of Chicago and the neighborhood. They would intend to rent out space for day-camps, nonprofit organizations, monthly memberships, birthday parties, fundraisers, company retreats among many other special events.

Chicago Development Partners and Timeline Theatre

Chicago Development Partners proposed partnering with Timeline Theatre. Prepared by Fitzgerald and Associates they presented a PowerPt plan that laid out what the building would look like and how it would utilize the theatre as it’s main hub, and develop residential units in the rest of the building. Timeline Theatre started in Andersonville 18 years ago with a few local actors who pitched in $50 to initiate themselves as an actual ensemble of professional actors and have since then become increasingly successful. They have produced 60 plays, worked with CPS schools, have won more than 50 awards and employ hundreds of artists each year. A significant portion of their subscribers come from Andersonville, Lincoln Square, Edgewater and Rogers Park. The new build-out would include a green roof up on the top with a sun-deck. They propose to create parking that would fit 65-90 car spaces just for the theatre alone. Along Foster would be a marquis to mark the theatre’s home neighborhood. The residential plan will have 45 residential units on level 2, 3 and 4. They anticipate residential to be 67% and the rest will be dedicated to the theatre and it’s administrative offices. The theater itself will be preserved, although with less seats then its current 400 person capacity. Units will sell between $375,000 – $425,000. Artistic Director PJ Powers explained that “the building is at the heart of the Andersonville community. To keep Clark St vibrant and alive they need patrons, and we provide patrons for those businesses along Clark.” Timeline would own this space and the property will still generate in new property taxes which helps all property taxes in the area.  Powers added, “We create interactive exhibits and spaces for our shows. We take our work outside of our home and into the community. We are here tonight because all of the work Timeline does and we are in desperate need of a new home. We want to make sure that this building is open to everyone. We hope to be a great contributor and neighbor to this neighborhood if given the opportunity to do this.“

Svigos Development

Svigos Development proposed doing a historical redevelopment of Trumbull School that would provide 48 residential apartments and condominiums. They would keep the auditorium in it’s current configuration and open it up to be rented by theatre groups, schools and the overall community. The inside of the building would be refinished but not replaced. They  have previously focused on preserving older buildings in Chicago, and would intend to do the same with the Trumbull School building. The representative from the development group explained that CPS schools lend themselves to being great units because of their structure, and this would be an idea opportunity to develop more residential units in a community that is growing. They emphasized that they would landmark the building once they moved forward with plans and intend to have a community oriented focus in regards to the theatre. They have done similar projects at both Peabody and Mulligan schools. They would sell the units at market rate.

Chicago Waldorf School Proposal 

The Chicago Waldorf School currently serves 250 families and 500 children and resides in Rogers Park. Waldorf Chicago is one of the oldest Waldorf schools in the Midwest and their mission is to “Provides a diverse PreK-12th grade education that supports the development of self-directed young adults dedicated to the pursuit of ongoing learning and eager to contribute positively to the global society of the 21st century.” They currently reside in Rogers Park, and a great number of their families have relocated their homes to be closer to the school because of their firm and dedicated commitment to the schools. They listed out 5 core reasons that Andersonville would want the Waldorf School in the community. One- Waldorf Chicago is a good fit and would increase the tax base by creating more demand for Andersonville business. Two- Waldorf Chicago would preserve the existing building and seek landmark protection. Three- Waldorf Chicago would give back to the community and bring new amenities to Andersonville. Four- Waldorf Chicago is a vibrant and giving community. Five- Waldorf Chicago has been educating students for 40 years. Their proposal would not intend to materially change the building but would give it the minor floor modifications and an installation of an elevator.

Trumbull Court Partners

Repurposing Trumbull School with various types of housing, a bulk of which includes state-of-the-art housing for seniors. They play to retain the existing historic Trumbull School building as a sustainable future for the building and redevelop the property for taxable real estate requirements, featuring community amenities. The existing auditorium will be repurposed for public and private uses serving the senior housing and residents. They intend to reconstruct the roof as a beautiful native garden and provide recreation space to be shared by building residents and adjacent senior housing. The group believes that if and when there is more senior housing available in the neighborhood, existing neighborhood housing stock will be freed up to be rented or purchased by young families and professionals. The theatre and shared community resources in the building would offer a multi-generational community hub for the greater Andersonville area.

Have an opinion about what you would like to see in the Trumbull building? Contact 40th Ward Alderman O’Connor’s office.


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