On Monday July 17, 2017, Bernard Citron of Thompson & Coburn and David Chase of BCG Enterprises presented a proposed re-use of the vacant Church of the Epiphany campus. Under the proposal, the site would be converted into a performance and event space, as well as an art gallery and studio space. The existing structures would not be affected, apart from the addition of some minor appurtenances.
Constructed in 1885, the Church of the Epiphany was landmarked by the City in 1976 as part of the Jackson Boulevard Historic District and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. The diocese closed down the church in 2011.
The existing site is currently zoned as RM-5 with a 2.0 FAR (Floor Area Ratio). In order to support the proposed use, the developer is requesting a zoning change to DX-3 (less than the DX-5 zoning suggested by the City). This would be a Planned Development, meaning any deviation from the proposed concept would require a community process.
The development team intends to obtain a liquor license to use the facility as an event space, however they expect food for the events would be catered (i.e., not cooked on-site). The project will include the addition of a 150-person rooftop deck. An operating plan would be created for the space based on community feedback to establish event parameters like operating hours.
The committee was pleased to hear a proposal for the Church of the Epiphany that would retain the historic structures, and they were also supportive of the cultural benefits that a performance and artists’ space would introduce to the West Loop.
Concerns raised by the audience focused on 1) noise generated by events and 2) access to the site, in particular potential damage to the historic alley. The committee would like to see more specific proposals for limiting event noise and a more detailed concept for deliveries and loading around the site.
The committee also expressed interest in having the site support local programs like After School Matters and community meetings.
The development team stated that a community meeting was held for the project in late February, however many details have changed since then. NoWL will advocate for a second community meeting before the zoning change is considered.
Date: Monday July 24, 2017
By: Matt Letourneau, NOWL Development Committee Chair