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St. Dominic Church To Be Torn Down, Become Luxury Condos

By Margaret Paulson in News on Apr 2, 2015 9:10PM

Chicago is slated to lose another small piece of history as the 110-year-old St. Dominic Church at Locust and Sedgwick will be torn down to make way for luxury condos. Developers Belgravia Group and Conlon Company met with the community at a meeting earlier this week where the majority of neighborhood residents voted “yes” to the construction, according to DNAinfo Chicago. Once the project is approved by City Council, construction is likely to begin in fall 2015.

St. Dominic’s Church also had a school and convent and was constructed in 1905 by William Brinkmann in what was then a mostly Italian neighborhood. It stuck through rapid changes in the 1950s and 1960s when the area was known to be rough and was called “Little Hell”; in later years, the area would become home to the Cabrini-Green Housing Projects.

The church eventually closed in 1990 and has been vacant ever since. Check out The Chicago Architecture Blog to learn more about the church’s interesting place in Chicago history.

While the demolition of St. Dominic's is sad, especially considering the new structure slated for the spot is quite dull in comparison, it's never really a good idea to have vacant buildings in your neighborhood. Take for instance the ongoing saga of St. Boniface Church at Noble and Chestnut streets in Noble Square, also closed since 1990. Activists sought to save the beautiful structure from the wrecking ball for many years and, after an 11-year struggle, Preservation Chicago declared it a "success story" in 2010. However, the church is currently sitting in ruin still to this day, fenced off and crumbling, as residents await its fate.

St. Boniface has been through several owners and faced demolition more than once. The developer was set to save parts of the fa├žade and turn it into a senior living center, only to have its tax credits denied. Most recently, after a proposal to develop the structure into “workforce” rental units, The Neighbors of Saint Boniface responded that family housing is more desirable to the community.

So at best, let us be glad that the property St. Dominic’s is on is not in complete disarray like St. Boniface. At worst, we should question why developers are not proposing that at least a portion of St. Dominic’s be used in the design and development of the new housing units, because churches make really rad houses as seen here, here here and here.