Saint Boniface Property:
Convent 1340 W. Chestnut St. (Demolished 1994)
Convent 1342 W. Chestnut St. (Demolished 2003)
School 1346 W. Chestnut St. (Demolished 2003)
Rectory 921 N. Noble St (Demolished 2011)
Church 1358 W. Chestnut St. (Existing)
Timeline (1983 - Present)
All updates from the Home Page will be posted in the Timeline below
According to the 125th Anniversary of St. Boniface booklet, due to “the financial situation of the school, coupled with the decrease in enrollment”, Saint Boniface elementary school closes. Much of the building is left unsecured from trespassers and weather.
The Archdiocese of Chicago closes 28 parishes including Saint Boniface. As with the school, much of the church building is left unsecured from trespassers and weather.
The convent building at 1340 Chestnut St. becomes the first of five buildings on the Saint Boniface property to be razed. At the time, the building shows no signs of structural decay and is not offered for sale.
Landmarks Illinois, then LPCI, names Saint Boniface Church and School to their “Ten Most Endangered” in Illinois list for 1999. It’s status is currently listed as “still threatened” on the .
A local community group discovers that the Archdiocese of Chicago is planning to demolish Saint Boniface church, school and all other structures on the property. Because of the architectural significance of the church and school, both designed by renowned architect Henry Schlacks, much attention is drawn to the possible razing of these cornerstones of this West Town neighborhood. Area residents, along with prominent preservation groups organize and form The Coalition To Save Saint Boniface. This newly formed group recruits then alderman, Jesse Granato, to ask the Archdiocese to reconsider its plans for demolition. The Archdiocese of Chicago responds that they are not in a financial position to repair the buildings and that they would soon request a demolition permit from the City of Chicago. Like the convent building, none of these properties are offered for sale.
In response to a letter written expressing concern over the possible demolition of Saint Boniface, one area resident receives a reply, signed by Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, stating, “If a group can fix it up, I’d be open to any proposition made”.
A “Stop The Demolition” vigil is held in front of Saint Boniface Church in protest of the Archdiocese’ intention to destroy the historic structures. Enduring heavy rain, approximately 250 people gather to hear speeches by preservationists, local residents, former Saint Boniface parishioners and Alderman Jesse Granato. The gathering, organized by The Coalition To Save Saint Boniface, also draws the attention of Chicago television and print media.
June 2, 99
Alderman Jesse Granato puts a hold on all demolition permits for buildings on the Saint Boniface property.
June 3, 99
The Chicago City Council passes an ordinance allowing the city to purchase the Saint Boniface property. According to a Sun Times article in June of 1999, the ordinance states that if the Archdiocese of Chicago is unwilling to sell or negotiations fail, the city will be authorized to use eminent domain to acquire the property.
When questioned, on Channel 11’s Chicago Tonight, of their intentions regarding the property, a representative of the Archdiocese replies that they would like to demolish all buildings on the land and keep the property for possible use later as part of their “mission”.
Community groups and preservationists begin to search for ideas and prospective parties interested in saving and renovating Saint Boniface.
A group of students from The School Of The Art Institute, in the Historic Preservation Graduate Program, do a study: "An Adaptive Reuse Study For St. Boniface."
An article written by Bishop Raymond Goedert in the Catholic newspaper, The New World, states that the Archdiocese of Chicago does not have funds to rehab the properties. Although there is much outside interest in the property with plans to rehab the church and school buildings, the article makes no mention of selling the property.
Alderman Walter Burnett Jr., who inherits the Saint Boniface situation after city wards are redrawn, organizes and chairs a meeting at City Hall. In attendance are representatives from The Coalition To Save Saint Boniface, The Archdiocese of Chicago, preservationists and several city departments including the Department of Planning and Development.
This is the first time since 1999 that the Archdiocese of Chicago sends a representative to meet with concerned parties regarding the vacant Saint Boniface property. At the meeting, the Archdiocese surprisingly announces that they have decided to sell the property. They argue, however, that due to liability concerns, the school must be demolished but the church will remain. Community and preservation groups request that the school’s façade be saved.
School and Convent Demolished
The Archdiocese reveals plans to dismantle the school’s facade and place it in storage. Community groups are not satisfied, as they believe any up zoning from R-3 to R-5 or greater was to be contingent on the façade remaining in place on the property. Citing examples of other locations in Chicago, including Maxwell St., preservationists say that keeping the façade in place during the school’s demolition is a viable option.
A design competition (see for submitted designs) is held by the Archdiocese to come up with plans for the Saint Boniface property. Several architectural firms are invited to participate and compete for monetary prizes. - PDF
July - Sept 03
The Saint Boniface School is demolished. The façade is dismantled and stored by the Archdiocese.
High Rise / Developer / Coptic Church
A reunion mass and dance is held by, and for, former St. Boniface parishioners at the neighboring Holy Innocents Church and hall. Approximately 300 former parishioners and friends attend.
Although not scheduled, by organizers the event, a surprise presentation is made by Mr. Martin Jablonski, a representative of the Archdiocese. Mr. Jablonski’s power point presentation appeared to most everyone in attendance to stress three points:
. The Archdiocese is not interested in restoring the St. Boniface property themselves
. Their sponsored design competition yielded no viable plans
. The only possible reuse for the property is the construction of a multi-unit high-rise
While fielding questions, by guests regarding poor upkeep of the property over the past fifteen years, several comments arise accusing the Archdiocese of “slumlording” and of “tax-free land banking”. Mr. Jablonski’s reply is that the Archdiocese does not wish to invest any more money into the property. When one guest suggests that the Archdiocese sell the property, Mr. Jablonski replies, “if you write a check for 3 million dollars, we’ll sell it to you right now.”
Disappointed that the surprise presentation was not one of reminiscence but rather an apparent sales pitch for a high-rise development, many felt that the Archdiocese sponsored presentation took away from the intended spirit of the evening.
Smithfield Properties LLC invites residents of the 1300 block of West Chestnut St. to attend a meeting regarding the Saint Boniface property. At the meeting,along with Smithfield representative Robert Buano, were Jimmy Lago, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and Martin Jablonski, the liaison between Smihthfield and the Archdiocese. Through questioning by area residents it is discovered that:
. Smithfield Properties has intentions of erecting a high-rise residential building on the lot where the school once stood and converting the church into residential units.
. The rectory on the Noble St. side would be demolished.
. There would not be an outright sale of the property from the Archdiocese to Smithfield. The Archdiocese of Chicago would “still hold some stake in the property”.
. A TIF district may be drawn to include Saint Boniface and the surrounding area. Realizing that being drawn into a TIF district opens the door for homes, which are now occupied by long time residents, to be taken by eminent domain, concerned residents overwhelmingly inform Alderman Walter Burnett that they would aggressively oppose ANY project that would include them in a TIF zone.
To the surprise of everyone at the meeting, representatives of The Coptic Orthodox Church introduce themselves and express that their congregation is very interested in purchasing and renovating Saint Boniface. Noting that they have made several attempts to communicate their interest to the Archdiocese, the Coptic Church representatives say these attempts went unanswered. Archdiocese representatives reply that they are uninterested in talking to the Coptic Church citing skepticism regarding their financial ability to take on this project. Assuring those in attendance that they are fully aware of the scope of such a project, the Coptic Church representatives stress they have both the experience and financial means to undertake this type of restoration. Using landmark type guidelines, they say they would rehab the church, as close as possible to it’s original beauty, into their place of worship.
At the conclusion of this meeting, Mr. Jimmy Lago of the Archdiocese, agrees to give audience to the Coptic Church representatives.
An Opportunity To Be Saved
The Archdiocese allows members of the Coptic Church to tour the interior of Saint Boniface with their structural engineers. Pleasantly surprised at the structural integrity of the church building, the Coptic Church representatives contact the Archdiocese in order to enter negotiations to purchase of the Saint Boniface property.
The Archdiocese of Chicago replies, to representatives of the Coptic Church, that they are moving forward with a developer.
Members of the Coptic Orthodox Church are requested to attend a meeting of the Echkart Park Community Council. At the meeting they provide a brief history of the Coptic Church, their congregation and their plans for St. Boniface Church if they were to acquire it. They stress that they understand fully the scope of this project. They eagerly and strongly claim to have both the engineering and financial resources, as well as the experience, to undertake the task of restoring Saint Boniface Church in a way that would satisfy community groups, neighbors and preservationists.
Zoning / Security / Developer Out? /Letter From Residents
The Eckhart Park Community Council and a neighbor representing the immediate area near St. Boniface, citing multiple issues, meet with Alderman Burnett, in person, and inform him that any upzoning from the current R-3 (basically single family) would be scrutinized and under no circumstances would a high-rise be acceptable.
After years of complaints by area residents regarding general upkeep of the property including overgrown weeds, trash and especially unsecured openings which allowed vagrants and drug users to enter and use the property, the Archdiocese bricks up all windows and doors at ground level.
A member of the Eckhart Park Community Council calls the Archdiocese of Chicago and is informed by a representative that, at this time, they are very close to a lease deal with a developer. No further details are given.
An article about Saint Boniface is written by Timothy Inklebarger and published in The Chicago Journal on 6-6-07. In the article a spokesman for the Archdiocese reveals that they have “decided not to lease the property at 1358 W. Chestnut to Smithfield Properties, who he [sic] proposed putting in senior housing.” This is the first public mention, by the Archdiocese of Chicago, to reuse the Saint Boniface property as senior housing.
Below are excerpts from the Chicago Journal article:
. “Archbishop Francis Cardinal George says a number of Eastern Catholic churches have approached the Archdiocese with plans to reuse the church, adding that, "none had the sufficient funds to repair the building."
. “A group of Coptic Orthodox Christians, however, has expressed interest in rehabbing the building and using it as a church, but the group says its offer has been largely ignored by the Archdiocese.”
. A representative of the Coptic Church says “their offer to restore the building was ignored.”
. An area resident inquiring about the property and the Coptic Church, received a letter from Archbishop Francis Cardinal George stating that it is “too late to begin negotiations with them."
A letter expressing frustration is written on behalf of area residents and sent, registered mail, to Archbishop Francis Cardinal George on July 25th. A response is received on July 28th. No further communication is received from the Archdiocese of Chicago as of 10-10-07. Use the links below to view the letter and response.
As of April 10th, neither Archbishop Francis Cardinal George nor any representative of the Archdiocese of Chicago has responded to the above letter.
A letter from the Coptic Churche's H.H. Pope Shenouda III’s office is written to the Archdiocese of Chicago expressing interest in Saint Boniface Church.
The Archdiocese of Chicago puts out a Request For Proposals for the redevelopment of the Saint Boniface property.
The Coptic Churches proposal to purchase and renovate Saint Boniface church is rejected by the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Neighbors meet with a representative of the Coptic Church who asserts passionately that her congregation, even after having their proposal rejected, is still very willing and able to restore Saint Boniface church to it’s original condition and use it as their Christian house of worship.
The Archdiocese of Chicago submits, to the City of Chicago, a request to demolish Saint Boniface church
Demolition or Deal in the Works?
In order to spread the word of the demolition request, community groups reignite a grassroots movement via an information blitz. Flyers and posters are distributed in the area surrounding Saint Boniface. The interest generated within the community, and by preservation groups, sparks a letter writing campaign asking the Archdiocese to reconsider their plans for demolition and the City to step in as a mediator. Several media outlets also cover the Saint Boniface issue.
On January 22nd concerned citizens to Save Saint Boniface Church meet with Alderman Burnett to discuss the Demolition Permit that the Archdiocese has pulled for St. Boniface. Over 30 people attend Alderman Burnetts' regular “ward night” meeting. The general feeling after the meeting is positive but there was still no guarantee that the Alderman and the City of Chicago will actually commit to preserving the building. Another letter writing campaign to representatives of the City is launched.
A Save Saint Boniface Facebook group is started.
On January 26th Preservation Chicago names its annual Chicago 7; the 7 most endangered buildings in Chicago. Saint Boniface is on the list.
The information blitz and letter writing campaign continues.
On February 17th approximately 30 concerned people again attend Alderman Burnette’s “ward night” meeting asking that he back the land marking of Saint Boniface. Alderman Burnett signs a landmark application in front of the crowd but states that it will not ensure that St Boniface does not get demolished. He also informs those in attendance that this application will not be heard until the April 2009 hearing.
There is a three-week period between the expiration of the 90-day demolition permit hold and the April landmark hearing. Saint Boniface does not receive landmark status from the City.
On March 6th the 90-day hold on the demolition permit expires and cannot be extended. The City of Chicago issues the necessary permits for demolition to the Archdiocese of Chicago but ensures the community that they are actively perusing a land trade with the Archdiocese.
At this time the Archdiocese of Chicago is in possession of the necessary permits to demolish the Saint Boniface church and remaining buildings on the property. To the best of our knowledge the Archdiocese and City of Chicago are sill negotiating a possible land swap in which the City would take possession of the Saint Boniface property via a land trade. The City has made it known that they do not wish to keep the Saint Boniface property and would need to have, in place, and end user who would restore and or incorporate the church building into some type of development.
A Sun Times article reveals that an agreement has been reached between Institutional Project Management, the City of Chicago and the Archdiocese of Chicago regarding a deal that would involve the redevelopment of Saint Boniface Church into a “senior living complex”. The deal would also save historic parts of the church.
Land Swap - New Owner
The City of Chicago’s Community Development Commission approves a complicated deal in which the City of Chicago would acquire the now vacant Byrd School. located at 363 W. Hill St in Chicago, from the Chicago Public Schools and sublease it to the Archdiocese of Chicago. The Archdiocese of Chicago would then relinquish the Saint Boniface property to the City of Chicago who would then lease it to Institutional Project Management who would transform Saint Boniface church building into a development for senior housing.
IPM’s proposed plan for Saint Boniface includes demolition of most of the church structure but incorporates combining the existing south and west facades with the new structure. The plan not only accommodates the needs of the project but also satisfies both the preservation and local communities.
Although regret is expressed by Chicago preservation groups and local residents, that the entire Saint Boniface church could not be saved and reused due to structural issues, they overwhelmingly support IPM’s plan.
The On Tuesday May 18th Institutional Project Management met with local community group The Eckhart Park Community Council and members of Chicago’s preservation community to discuss their proposed plans for Saint Boniface.
At the meeting IPM made it known that they are very interested in and committed to working with the community and preservationists on the Saint Boniface plan.
Below are several points that were discussed.
1) IPM is hoping for a July 15th closing date
2) Project will be in two Phases
- Phase I will begin fall of 2010
- Phase II will be on hold and is not yet definite
Phase I will include
- 75 units
- green space where the rectory now stands
- parking for 34 cars (exceeds Chgo. req.)
Phase II may include
- 40-50 additional units
- additional parking
- loss of green space where rectory now stands
IPM's chief architect is aware of the historical value of Saint Boniface church and will work to unite the old and new buildings as seamlessly as possible
An approximate closing date for Institutional Project Management to take possession of Saint Boniface is in the works for sometime in mid-August.
The August closing has been changed. Final details are being worked out for a potential closing date for mid to late September.
IPM Takes Possession of The Saint Boniface Property
It is confirmed that, as of October 20th 2010, Institutional Project Management, LLC. has become the new owner of the St. Boniface Church Property. IPM meets with Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. and community members to provide information on the Saint Boniface project.
IPM has employed an outside firm to conduct a market study that will calculate the actual need for senior living in the area. This will assist in IPM's decision on the extent of “Phase 1” of the Saint Boniface Senior Living project.
The Saint Boniface team requested that IPM consider saving the façade of the existing rectory building located at 921 N. Noble Street. IPM has agreed to look into plans and cost effectiveness of this request.
The agreed to redevelopment agreement (RDA) between the City of Chicago and IPM sets forth specific guidelines for the Saint Boniface project. The RDA is a public document and can be viewed using the following link. ...... note that an amended RDA is in effect as of 04/10/13 and can be viewed further down the timeline.
• A market study has been completed for IPM and has indicated that that the initial 75-units proposed for Phase 1 of the project are sustainable. However, market conditions do not support development beyond 75-units.
• Unable to reach a feasible solution to save the façade of the rectory building and in order to comply with the Redevelopment Agreement with the City of Chicago, the demolition of the rectory will begin the week of January 17, 2011.
•Discussions on the possible re-use of the currently stored school façade and or certain components thereof are on-going.
• IPM stated that the “operator” of the senior housing would be chosen in February, and that Catholic Charities was prohibited by the City from being considered.
• IPM stated that they want to work with the community to reach accord on design of the Church. They stated that all aspects of the Church façade are on the table for discussion. IPM also stated that the portion of the Church located between the two towers on the Noble Street (west) side is “still on the table.”
¥ IPM reported that they are attempting to find the original stained glass windows from Saint Boniface in hopes of re-installing them in the building.
In accordance with the Redevelopment Agreement (RDA) between The City of Chicago and Institutional Project Management (IPM) the demolition of the rectory building is complete. The RDA required demolition of the rectory to be completed by February 28th, 2011 (60 days after the demolition permit was issued). This requirement has been met and was approved by the City.
Also in accordance with requirements within the RDA, IPM has applied for a selective demolition permit for the church as part of the next phase of the project. The agreement requires IPM to stabilize certain historic features of the church and insure that they are not at risk during demolition. IPM's architect has completed a study of the building and has identified sixteen such features. IMP has submitted to The City a plan to keep these historic features safe and out of harms way during the demolition of the church. The City will not issue the demolition permit until they are satisfied that these historical features will not be at risk.
IPM has also informed Saint Boniface Info that they are in the process of securing permanent financing and they provided the following projected timeline.
Projected Timeline (dates subject to change)
July 1, 2011 Demolition of the church complete
Sept 1, 2011 Begin new construction
Jan. 1, 2013 Doors to the new Saint Boniface Senior Living facility
Original Plan Abandoned
On June 7th, 2011 Institutional Project Management once again met with the Eckhart Park Community Council's Saint Boniface Committee to present an update on the Saint Boniface Senior Living project. At this meeting IPM informed the group that, due to an inaccurate engineering analyses provided to them, the original plan of preserving and reusing the four towers of the church had to be abandoned. It was discovered that, because of the lack of steel support, securing the towers during the selective demolition process was not financially feasible.
The original plan was to be done in two phases. Phase I included a total of 75 units in the new building that was to be constructed incorporating the four towers. Phase II called for an additional 15 units to be added later in a new building to be constructed on the site.
IPM's team returned to the drawing board to come up with a new plan that would keep the project alive.
The New Plan
After further studying the church's structural stability, it was discovered that there was sufficient steel to support the structure if it remained in tact and no demolition were performed. The new plan presented by IPM at the above mentioned meeting includes saving the entire church and incorporating part of the new senior living facility within the church building itself. The plan also calls for the construction of a new building on the lot, to the east of the church, where the school once stood. A total of 84 units would be on the site. 41 units would be located within the church and 43 in the new building. (see renderings below)
IPM, the Eckhart Park Community Council and residents who reside within immediate proximity of the property have agreed to continue to meet and discuss zoning and other issues that would have an impact on the area.
Feb. 24th, 2012
The Saint Boniface Committee of The Eckhart Park Community Council has been informed that Institutional Project Management's application for tax credits to fund the Saint Boniface project have been denied by the City. This is a serious setback that puts the project in jeopardy.
To meet the City of Chicago's requirements, IPM has until April 19th to secure funding. IPM has informed us that they are continuing to persue all options.
There have also been many “break-ins” to the church recently including one where someone threw a large piece of steel out of the bell tower on to a car below. (see photos below) In response to this incident, as a safety precaution, IPM has installed a construction canopy around the church.
IPM continues to attempt to secure the church building on almost a daily basis. In one of the recent “break-ins” the trespassers gained entry by actually breeching a wall.
April 10th, 2012
The Our last update of 2-24-12 noted that IPM had run into a major funding issue when their application for tax credit funding had been denied. The update also noted that IPM considered this “a serious setback that could put the project in jeopardy”. (see last update on Timeline page)
On April 5th 2012, The Eckhart Park Community Council's Saint Boniface Committee met with Institutional Project Management. This meeting was requested by IPM in order to update the community on the status of the Saint Boniface project.
At the meeting, IPM informed the group that they remain dedicated to this project and to saving the church from demolition. A two-phase plan was then revealed that showed Phase 1 encompassing only the renovation of the church. This phase would include a total of 54 independent senior living units within the church building itself and a parking area where their previous plan showed the construction of a new building. Phase 2 would include the construction of a new building on a portion of the parking area. - It should be noted that the previous plan called for 41 units within the church building and another 43 in the new building. - IPM also informed the group that because of this scaled back plan they were able to enter negotiations to obtain alternate funding. They also informed the EPCC committee that funding for the project is not secured yet, but at this point they are very optimistic.
IPM is also currently in the legal process of requesting an extension to the funding deadline set by the City in the original RFP. The deadline requires IPM to have all funding in place by April 19th 2012.
Sketches of the new plan were shown at the meeting. However because the plans are still in the incipient phase IPM would not release them at this time. The EPCC committee was assured that when the revised plans are complete we would be supplied with them. At that time Saint Boniface Info will post the drawings on this site.
August 6th, 2012
On June 26th 2012, The Eckhart Park Community Council's Saint Boniface Committee met with Institutional Project Management. This meeting was requested by IPM in order to update the community on the status of the Saint Boniface project.
Our 2/24/12 update noted that Institutional Project Management's application for City of Chicago tax credits to fund the Saint Boniface project had been denied. Dedicated to making this project work IPM requested, from the City, a 6 month extension to the funding deadline requirement within the RDA. The extension was approved by the City pending modifications to the documentation.
Using the extended deadline IPM scaled back their plans from 84 to 54 units and applied for tax credit funding to the Illinois Housing Development Authority. The IDHA has approved a preliminary application allowing IPM to submit a formal and final application that is due to be completed by July 30th 2012. Approval of this second application could take 8 to 12 weeks taking the final approval date close to the extension deadline. Once approval from the IDHA takes place IPM will seek funds from it's investors to repair and secure the roof and stabilize the towers of the church before the coming winter. If all goes as hoped, rehabilitation construction on the church may begin early spring 2013.
The RDA also requires IPM to use the old rectory site as part of their project. Earlier plans to use it as green space were denied by the City on the grounds that there is enough green space nearby at Eckhart Park. If IPM does not use the old rectory property in their project, that land can be reverted back to the City or sold to IPM at market value. IPM has developed a preliminary concept for the rectory site involving additional market rate senior housing or a clinic. Funding for this will not require tax credits.
Lastly, regarding the school façade, although it was dismantled, catalogued and stored for possible reuse at the site it is now a foregone conclusion that it will not return as part of the proposed project. The new scaled back plan does not include a new building on the old school grounds thus eliminating a place for the façade. IPM was informed that they must remove the façade from it's storage area on Archdiocese of Chicago property. All parts of the façade that have not been removed by a July deadline will be destroyed. IPM's chief architect proposed the salvaging and reuse of the old school entrance on the Chestnut St. side of the proposed parking lot close to where it once stood. (See Fig 1 & 2 below) All parts of the entrance way have been saved and are now in storage by IPM.
November. 9th, 2012
IPM has informed the The Eckhart Park Community Council's Saint Boniface Committee today that the Illinois Housing Development Corporation has denied their application for Low Income Housing Tax Credits for the Saint Boniface Senior Living project. Per the terms of the Amended and Restated RDA that was recently approved by the City of Chicago, IPM has until November 30, 2012 to provide proof of financing for the proposed redevelopment project. The RDA also provides IPM with the ability to request an extension of time from the City of Chicago until April 30, 2013 to provide additional time to identify alternate sources of funding. IPM submitted this extension request to the City yesterday, November 8th, 2012.
In terms of next steps, IPM will continue to explore alternate financing sources. If the City agrees to the extension, that will provide sufficient time for them to re-examine funding sources that had been previously identified but put aside when it appeared as if the tax credits were going to be approved.
IPM also needs to return to Building Court soon to provide a status report on the condition of the church, attest that it is secured and provide an update on the financing. IPM will continue to keep the neighborhood informed every step oh te way as events take place. They also expressed appreciation to the EPCC and community for their unwavering support for the Saint Boniface pprojectf
November. 9th, 2012
Re: Saint Boniface Building Court Date
Saint Boniface Church has a temporary reprieve from demolition.
At today's court hearing lawyers for both parties informed the judge of a possible breakthrough in talks between the City and IPM regarding the repairs required by the Building Department. The judge then cited that he was not familiar with the extensive history of the Saint Boniface case and that the judge who had previously overseen the case, and has better knowledge of it's intricacies, will return to court after the first of the year. The judge then issued a continuance and set the next court date of January 16th, 2013.
Between today and January 16th Institutional Project Management will be in discussions with the City of Chicago regarding Building Department's required repairs to secure the property. During this time IPM will continue to seek funding for these repairs.
Carefree Development LLC Takes Lead in The Saint Boniface Senior Living Project
January 17th, 2013
SBI was contacted by Institutional Project Management who provided us with more detailed and accurate information. This information is as follows:
1) The Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development has verbally agreed to allow Carefree Development to step into the shoes of Institutional Project Management to be the primary developer of the St. Boniface senior housing development.
2) IPM will still be involved in the project.
3) The City has agreed to extend the time needed to provide evidence of financing for the development until the end of 2013.
4) Carefree will take steps to stabilize certain elements of the church required by the Chicago Building Department. They hope to have such stabilization work done by the end of the February, 2013.
Once again, Saint Boniface Info apologizes for any inaccuracies posted earlier today.
March 28th, 2013
Our last update noted that The Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development has verbally agreed to allow Carefree Development LLC to step into the shoes of Institutional Project Management to be the primary developer of the St. Boniface senior housing development. We also noted that Institutional Project Management would still be involved in the project in some capacity. In order to complete this change in positions the original Redevelopment Agreement would need to be altered.
Update From Carefree Development LLC
1) Carefree has been working with the City, the Archdiocese and the lenders towards securing everyone's approval allowing Carefree to step-in as Managing General Partner of the Saint Boniface Senior Living project. It is believed that all parties involved are “on board” and only documentation is pending at this time.
2) A revised RDA is expected to be delivered to the City Council in April. The revisions extend the time to secure funding through the end of 2013 and also require Carefree to stabilize some areas of the structure. The stabilization work will begin in early April.
3) At this time Carefree is in the process of securing funding for the project that includes tax credits from the Illinois Housing Development Association. The final application will be submitted to the IHDA in July.
1) Carefree would like to make known that this is the final opportunity to save Saint Boniface church from demolition. If they are unable to secure funding from IHDA through the July application, there will be no other options available to them.
July 29th, 2013
Saint Boniface Info has been informed by Carefree Development that there will be construction activity on the St. Boniface property very soon. The work will be to stabilize the structure as required by the Chicago Department of Buildings.
In addition, St. Boniface Senior Living LLC's application for Low Income Housing Tax Credits will be filed with Illinois Housing Development Authority by August 2, 2013. A decision is expected in the fall of 2013.
December 4, 2013
The Illinois Housing Development Authority has once again denied Carefree
Developments tax credit application. These tax credits would have been used for the adaptive reuse of the Saint Boniface Church into senior living.
Reasons for the denial include regulations requiring the property to be fully zoned for its intended use and that the adaptive reuse costs would have brought the projects per unit cost to a level beyond which IHDA is authorized to approve.
Phil Moeller of Carefree Development has informed Saint Boniface Info that they have met with Alderman Burnett, Senator Delgado and Staff at the City and that all strongly continue to support the adaptive reuse off the church.
Carefree intends to submit a revised application to the IHDA early next year. In conjunction with efforts to secure funding from the IHDA in 2014, Carefree is also negotiating with market rate developers for the possible sale of the property for the development of market rate (for sale or lease) housing.
Mr. Moeller also stated that, “It is our intent to ensure the church structure is saved via IHDA funding and/or via the redevelopment of the property for market rate housing.”
Senior Housing Idea Scrapped
July 9, 2014
Earlier this year Carefree Development was in a strong position to secure funding through the Illinois Housing Development Association for a 56 unit senior housing project. However, in early January 2014, the State of Illinois and the City made funding changes with priorities shifting from senior to multifamily housing. The result is that Carefree's only option for the redevelopment of the Saint Boniface property is multifamily for rent or for sale housing.
Carefree has been working with several firms interested in the development of for sale condominiums/townhomes. They have appealed to the City for a meeting to discuss this option. In the event Carefree is not successful in their pursuit of the for sale option, they will have to proceed with either the demolition of the church and/or the development of multifamily rental housing. Preliminary plans are now in the works.
January 27, 2015
On December 18, 2014, at the request of Carefree Development LLC, a newly formed group of neighbors of the Saint Boniface property met with Carefree to discuss their plan for redevelopment of the church and adjoining lots.
Carefree presented a plan for 112 “workforce” rental units done in two phases. The first phase would require partial demolition of the church and would consist of 56 one and two bedroom rental units built into a new structure behind the existing façade. All four towers and southern exposure would be reused. The second phase would be a new structure built on the lot where the old Saint Boniface school stood and would consist of an additional 56 units. Bringing the total number of rental units to 112.
Concerned about the impact such a large rental development would have on the area the group asked about the possibility of incorporating larger and fewer “for sale” units in both phases. Carefree responded that at this time they were only planning on rental and not “for sale” units. Carefree and the neighbors of Saint Boniface plan to meet again in the near future.
March 9,2015 - In late January The Neighbors of Saint Boniface met with 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett Jr., Also in the meeting was Lawrence Grisham, Managing Deputy Commissioner / Housing Bureau at City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development. The meeting focused on a plan by Carefree Development LLC that includes 112 one and two bedroom “workforce” rental units.
Citing the number of workforce units already in the area and the impact such large development would have on the community, The Neighbors of Saint Boniface informed Mr. Burnett and Mr. Grisham that they are not in support of Carefree's proposed rental development.
The NSB also stressed to Mr. Burnett and Mr. Grisham that the current direction of the area is towards larger family type housing. As example they cited the recent construction of single-family homes and larger condominium units near St. Boniface. NSB also cited the recent $500.000 renovation of the children's playground at Eckhart Park and Ogden School as examples of the City's, and community's, commitment to providing a welcomed family-oriented neighborhood. NSB suggested that there are most likely other developers who would be interested in the property and meeting the needs and wishes of the community.
At the conclusion of the meeting both Mr. Burnett and Mr. Grisham said that they “would support what the community wants.”
July 1, 2015
On 6/22/15 The Neighbors Of Saint Boniface met with Phil Moeller of Carefree Development for a status update on the Saint Boniface property. Below are the meeting's “take away” points.
* Carefree will be meeting with the City in two weeks to finalize an agreement to modify the Redevelopment Agreement (RDA). Currently the RDA requires the development of 117 affordable housing units. The revised plan would give Carefree unrestricted ownership of the property and the ability to move forward with the development subject only to existing Citywide affordable housing requirements (10% of units to be set aside as affordable). The plan would include a full purchase of the property by Carefree. It is anticipated the modification of the previous restrictions set in place in the original, and very complicated, RDA will ultimately require City Council approval.
* Once Carefree assumes unrestricted ownership of the property they would move forward with a market rate owner occupied development at the Saint Boniface site. Through discussions and suggestions from the NOSB, so as to reduce density and preserve significant parts of the church, preliminary plans and ideas include saving the church's four towers and the development of larger condominiums and single family homes.
* A court date is set at the end of July where Carefree hopes to prove that there is positive movement towards a development project that would secure the property and satisfy the community.
Lastly, Carefree agreed to be more attentive to, and vigilant in, the upkeep and security of the property as it stands now.
September 2, 2015
A Building Court hearing regarding the Saint Boniface church and adjoining property was held on July 29th. At this hearing it was made public that a demolition permit was formally requested by Carefree Development LLC through Ogden Partners.
Carefree told saintbonifaceinfo that the demolition permit was requested so as to prevent the court from entering a default judgment and ordering the property be delivered to a court appointed receiver for demolition. Their application for demolition, Carefree states, serves to delay the demolition of the church and gives them time to negotiate the final acquisition of the property and thereof the development of market rate for sale family housing.
Carefree also stated that they are requesting the City cooperate with them in saving the church and/or if not possible then saving significant architectural features (towers, etc) of the structure.
There is currently a 90 day hold on the demolition permit by the City of Chicago.
December 10, 2015
At an October 7th court hearing St. Boniface LLC informed the City that they have listened to the community and are now working toward a development that would preserve the church and provide owner occupied, market rate condominiums. The City agreed to a continuance, and not push for demolition, as long as St. Boniface LLC completes several repairs and meets with the community before the next hearing. Repairs included securing all points of entry on the building and in surrounding fence and securing loose bricks on the east wall of the church. The court granted a continuance to December 9th, 2015.
At the December 9th, 2015 hearing the attorney representing the City explained to the court that his update from St. Boniface LLC included that all repairs required at the last hearing were done and that St. Boniface LLC was close to a deal with a “competent” developer that has a background in preservation. The only requirement not met by SB-LLC was that they meet with the community. SB-LLC told the court that they could not meet with the community until their negotiations with said developer were complete.
The judge granted the City attorney's request for another extension of the case to February 24th, 2016. In his request for a continuance the City attorney told the judge that all parties, including the community, are aware that this would be the “final” extension of the case.
Saint Boniface Info hopes be getting an update from St. Boniface LLC very soon. All public information from the update will be posted here soon after.
March 4, 2016
On 2/18/16 the Neighbors of Saint Boniface (NOSB) met with Saint Boniface LLC (SBLLC). The premise of the meeting was to introduce the NOSB to SBLLC's new partners. At the meeting the NOSB were told by the new partners that the City authorized them to convey that the church will be demolished. A verbal plan for a 10-story glass and steel high-rise with approximately 105 rental units at approximately 700 square feet per unit on average was then presented. In addition to the proposed high-rise the remaining land would possibly be filled with townhomes.
On 2/19/16 a representative of the City told the NOSB that they were misinformed. The City Representative stated that they did not in fact clear the church demolition nor did they give anyone the authority to speak on their behalf.
On 2/24/16, at a scheduled building court hearing, a continuance to April 20, 2016 was granted. The attorney for the City made it known that this would be the last continuance, and that if there were no solid plans for preserving the church, demolition would be the next step.
The NOSB made it clear to the City that they do not support such a population dense project on the Saint Boniface property. They also reiterated that any up-zoning without the preservation of the church, from the current RS3, would be strongly opposed.
April 5, 2016
On 3/31/16 a meeting hosted by the Neighbors of Saint Boniface was held at the Northwestern Settlement House. The meeting, which drew 76 attendees, brought local residents and property owners up to date on the status of the St. Boniface property.
The NOSB presented their mission statement that calls for saving the church structure and providing family-friendly owner occupied housing. That presentation also provided, a recent history, an explanation of talks with the owner and prospective developers and an in-depth look at current developments in the area showing the addition of 900+ new units, most of which are rentals, built or being built within one half mile of the St. Boniface site.
Of the 76 attendees 71 signed a letter in support of the NOSB.
April 24, 2016
At the April 20th, 2016 Building Court hearing George Scully, Jr. granted a 14 day continuance because of a possible interest in the property by the Chicago Academy of Music. The CAM has until May 4th to devise and present a workable plan that would save the church building and be acceptable to Carefree Development.
June 11, 2016
On May 16, 2016 The Chicago Academy of Music presented a plan to community members that would reuse the church building as a music school and performance center. In order to financially facilitate the conversion of the church, the plan included 160 residential units in two 20-story glass towers, one on Chestnut St. and one on Noble St. Community members voiced numerous concerns about the density and size of the two structures and how it would impact the surrounding residential area. Representatives from the CAoM respectfully said they understand the concerns and as it appears now, have withdrawn the proposal.
On June 8, 2016 there was another court hearing regarding the property. Another continuance was set for June 29, 2016.
Another local developer has very recently been in contact with the current owner and has expressed interest in developing a much smaller residential project on the site that would include saving the church with significantly less density than plans proposed in the past.
July 1, 2016
The Chicago Academy of Music (CA0M), in partnership with Stas Development, has presented to the City of Chicago and the Neighbors of Saint Boniface (NOSB) new plans for the Saint Boniface property. Details of the plans are as follows.
• 15 large condominiums within the church
• 19-22 condominium units in a new four-story structure on Chestnut St.
• four-story building on the Noble St. side with two small commercial units and music classrooms on the first floor, 8 studio apartments that would be used by the CAoM to house staff and visiting performers on the second floor and a small auditorium on the third and fourth floors.
• Plan includes landmarking the church building
• Parking for all residential units would be provided on site
• Parking for performances is still being worked out
July 27, 2016
A lot has been happening lately. The most accurate information, as of 07/27/16 can be found using the link below to Our Urban Times.
The most accurate inormation, as of 09/19/16 can be found using the link below to DANinfo. There may be more information within the next few days.
On Friday September 23rd, 2016 Stas Deveolpment closed on a deal to purchase and take control of the St. Boniface property.
The link below is from the Chicago Tribune late Friday afternoon.
October 2, 2016
On September 23, 2016 The Chicago Academy of Music (CAOM) in partnership with Stas Development closed on a deal to purchase the Saint Boniface property.
Stas Development's plan includes saving, land marking and converting the church building into 15 high-end condominiums. In addition, two new buildings will be constructed on the site. One on the Chestnut street side with between 20 and 24 new condos and one on the Noble street side that will house a new satellite location for the Chicago Academy of Music. The CAOM building will include three small commercial businesses on the first floor, 8 studio apartments for staff and master students on the second and an auditorium on the third and fourth floors.
After many years and countless proposals the community was very happy to support the CAOM/Stas plan due to it's relatively low density and preservation of the church building.
In a brief interview with Mike Skoulsky of Stas Development, after the completion of the purchase, Saint Boniface Info learned that Mr. Skoulsky (a local neighborhood resident himself) has already begun securing the church building and will very soon anchor the leaning cross on the highest tower. He also intends to clean up the vacant lots and repair the fence surrounding the property.
The next step for Stas Development is to present formal plans for the project to the community and City of Chicago. Once agreed on, CAOM/Stas and the City will sign on to a Restricted Development Agreement (RDA) that would hold CAOM/Stas to the plans presented and create a timeline for the project to be completed. Mr. Skoulsky's intentions are to begin construction in the spring or early summer of 2017. Interior cleanup work on the church may begin as early as November.
November 16, 2016
On Wednesday November 16, 2016 Stas Development appeared in building court presenting proof that all City Building Department concerns issued at the previous court hearing have been resolved. With this, a consent decree was entered between the City of Chicago and Stas Development. The consent decree essentially ends the current building court case and outlines preliminary terms (see below) for Stas Development to begin and complete the project at the Saint Boniface site.
· Stas is to submit drawings and obtain necessary permits by 2/8/17
· Construction must commence in May of 2017
· Construction is to be completed by 12/1/2018
· A City Inspection of the premises is to occur by 12/8/18
July 28, 2017
As of today's date Stas Development continues to work with the City of Chicago to finalize terms and conditions for final approval of the site plan. Although the original projected construction start date of May 2017 has passed Mike Skoulsky (president of Stas Development) has told Saint Boniface Info that the project is moving forward.
Recent measures Stas Development has taken to secure the property include the fortification of all access points into the church, the installation of a 24-hour surveillance camera system, a complete cleanup of the site and the construction of a new eight foot chain link fence that surrounds the entire perimeter of the site.
December 21, 2017
As of 12/13/17 Stas Development has submitted, to the City of Chicago, all their required paperwork for approval of the project.
Stas Development will be meeting with the City in early January in hopes of getting their plan approved.
If the City approves the project, Stas Development says they will begin work in the spring of 2018.
Regarding the required “public good” portion of the property (921 Noble);
- Due to complications, Stas Development and The Chicago Academy of Music have mutually decided to dissolve their agreement.
- Stas Development has formed a new partnership with the local nonprofit . Once completed, Stas Development will donate a new two-story building on the Noble St. side of the Saint Boniface property to the Northwestern Settlement House.
The link below is to a Chicago Architecture article published on December 19, 2017
January 8, 2018
See link below for most recent update
April 3, 2018
See link below for most recent update
April 24, 2018
On April 19, 2018 The Chicago Plan Commission officially approved Stas Development's plan to restore Saint Boniface Church and develop the adjoining vacant lots.
The approved plan, supported by neighbors, community organizations and Preservation Chicago, allows for 17 condominiums inside the church building, 24 condominiums in a new 4-story building to be constructed on the Chestnut St. side and a new two-story structure on the Noble St. side. The Noble street building will be donated to the Northwestern Settlement House and will have office space on the first floor and 4 affordable apartments on the second. The total number of on-site parking spaces will be 44. (three more than required by City code)
The next step in the process is for Stas Development to get complete City Council approval. The Council will vote on Stas's plan on May 9, 2018
October 18, 2018
On October 10th the scaffolding around the Saint Boniface church was removed and heavy construction equipment was seen being delivered to the site. Saint Boniface Info contacted Mike Skoulsky of Stas Development as was given the following update.
* Regarding the scaffolding:
- The scaffolding was in very bad shape. After years of weathering most of the plywood covering was rotting and crumbling.
- One of the major telecommunications companies had been requesting access to the electric poles on the Noble St. side of the church in order to install new 5G equipment. In order for this work to be done the scaffolding needed to be removed.
- Once the telecommunications work on the poles is completed new scaffolding will be ordered and installed.
* The construction equipment on site is in preparation for interior non-structural demolition. This non-structural demolition (removal of plaster, etc.) should be starting within the next 3-4 weeks.
* Mike hopes to submit for the church building permit within the next 2 months and is hopefully anticipating the completion of the church construction 12-18 months after the permit is issued.
No Updates in year 2019
May 13, 2020
In mid-February Saint Boniface Info had a phone conversation with Mike Skoulsky of Stas Development. In this conversation we were told that several important meetings between Stas Development, the City and another potential partner were scheduled to take place before the end of the month.
In early March we again contacted Mr. Skoulsky and were told that one or more of these meetings had been cancelled. We were assured that progress is being made but at the usual slow pace.
Adding to the complexity of this project, further meetings and court dates have also been postponed due the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent social distancing lockdown. We will remain in contact with Mr. Skoulsky and post updates as we get them.
December 12, 2020
Over the past two weeks there has been activity at the St. Boniface church site. The large machinery and equipment that had occupied the vacant lot for over a year was removed. Also, workers were seen filling dump trucks with debris removed from the church's interior, several windows were boarded up, new fencing was erected under the sanctuary area and new doors were installed.
Saint Boniface Info contacted and spoke with Mike Skoulsky of Stas Development regarding this recent activity at the site and were told ... “stay tuned"!
We will remain in communication with
Mr. Skoulsky and update this site as new information becomes available.
March 4, 2021
Mike Skoulsky of Stas Development presented an update on the St. Boniface project at a virtual East Village Association meeting on Monday March 1st. See the link below to a Block Club Chicago article summarizing the information he provided.
Note: There appears to be two errors or misprints in the Block Club Chicago article:
1) The correct address of the church is actually 1358 W. Chestnut St.
2) Saint Boniface Info cannot recall any developer ever proposing single family homes on the St. Boniface site.
(correction 03/05/21: One developer DID in fact propose single family homes if they were allowed to raze the church building)
April 23, 2021
New signage is being installed at the St. Boniface site this morning.
Here is a link to the website displayed on the sign.