Neighbors fight new St. Boniface apartment plan

A March 31 community meeting plots ways to save St. Boniface Church.

Against all odds, St. Boniface Church is still standing, but maybe not for long.

Closed since 1990, the former Roman Catholic Church at 1358 W. Chestnut St. could be razed for a six-story, 40-apartment building and four townhouses. Or not.

Neighbors of St. Boniface are fighting to preserve the Romanesque church, constructed in 1902-04. They drew 65 people to a March 31 community meeting at Northwestern Settlement, 1400 W. Augusta Blvd., to discuss a new round of talks with Carefree Development, who took over the property in 2013.

Carefree has two new partners: Harlem Irving Cos., owner of the Harlem Irving Plaza shopping center in Norridge, and Guardian Capital, a Chicago private-equity investor. The development plans are fluid: A month earlier, the partners proposed a 10-story, 105-apartment tower with three floors of parking.

Neighbors have been pushing for larger, owner-occupied units. Mike Dotson counts more than 900 apartment units already in the West Town development pipeline, mostly smaller Transit Oriented Development units. The church sits midway between the Blue Line's Division and Chicago stations, too far away to qualify for reduced parking within a half-mile of the Blue Line.

East Village Association officers 2016-2017


Daniel Johnson chairs an EVA meeting at Happy Village.

Daniel Johnson is serving a second term as president of the East Village Association, with secretary Michael VanDam moving up to vice president. New to the board are accountant Peter Gariepy as treasurer and Northwestern Medicine data analyst Daniel Navarro as secretary.

Both Johnson and VanDam have taken on new jobs in the past year, Johnson as partner in a newly formed litigation law firm and VanDam as an Ask Nagel real estate agent.

March showdown for Leona's teardown


A city ledger logs building inspections for a dairy at 1936-44 Augusta.

Volunteers are making a last push to preserve a longtime dairy and restaurant building before the City Council acts on a demolition request.

Ald. Brian Hopkins has deferred action on a demolition permit at 1936-44 W. Augusta Blvd., but chief of staff Steve Niketopoulos says without new information March 16 vote is likely. MCZ Development plans to raze the building, initially proposing condominiums. From 1985 to 2015, the site was a Leona's restaurant.

Local historians have been trying to flesh out the site's emergence as Pure Farm Products, "the only Ukrainian dairy in Chicago," in the words of a 1924 ad in the Newberry Library's collection.

Division subway rehab on track for yearend start

Delays in CTA Blue Line renovations are giving community members a second chance to influence design of a new Division station entrance.

The CTA expects work to begin at yearend, community liaison Jeff Wilson tells local architect Scott Rappe, who represented community groups in late 2014 talks with the city.

"The project will still be awarded to a design-build team," Rappe tells members of the Polish Triangle Coalition, "but there appears to be time to influence the process, and a willingness on the part of the CTA to make sure this happens."

The East Village Association, Wicker Park Committee, Near North Montessori and other community representatives formed the coalition to support public-space improvement and maintenance at the Division-Milwaukee-Ashland intersection. The group produces summer performances at the Polish Triangle.

A contractor will plan and execute updates. The Grand, Chicago and Division stations would get new entrances with granite stairs, glazed wall tiles and new lighting.

Chicago Avenue license would lift liquor moratorium

Windy City Mini Market seeks to lift a freeze on new Chicago Avenue package-goods licenses.

East Village Association board minutes for Feb. 8, 2016, by Michael VanDam

Windy City Mini Market

Windy City Mini Market, 1756 W. Chicago Ave., would like to receive a liquor license to sell wine and beer. Ald. Proco Joe Moreno referred the owner to EVA to discuss the plan, and the owner replied to an EVA questionnaire.

According to the proposal, no more than 40% of inventory would be liquor, limited to 102 square feet in a cooler. To receive this license, the packaged goods moratorium currently in place on Chicago Avenue would need to be lifted from Wood Street to Ashland Avenue.

The owner will send EVA a proposed Plan of Operation for the sale of liquor.

EVA supports transit-oriented Ace on Ashland condos


Architect John Hanna presents the Ace on Ashland condominium plan.

East Village Association minutes for Feb. 1, 2016, by Michael VanDam

Ace Hardware Building

Brian Foote introduced the team behind the proposed new transit-oriented development replacing the Ace Hardware at 1013 N. Ashland Ave. The group had previously met with the EVA board and has integrated most suggestions into the revised plans.

The building will include 2,500 square feet of commercial space and 33 units on three floors above: six 1-bedroom units, 21 2-bedroom units and six 3-bedroom units.

Parking will be limited to 25 cars, and the building will include storage for at least 25 bikes. Parking will be accessed off the alley behind the development.

EVA members voted to approve the upzoning to B1-3, which will ensure that the ground floor retains commercial use.