Sheffield community neighbors are raising questions to the Advisory Committee of the Armitage-Halstead Landmark District about parking provisions, loading zone requirements and design of the new Walgreens currently under construction at the corner of Armitage and Dayton.
Over the years the Sheffield Neighborhood Association (SNA) has worked to promote preservation and keep renovation and new construction consistent with the character and scale of the neighborhood.
During a recent meeting co-sponsored by the SNA and 43rd Ward Ald. Michele Smith, attorney Ted Wrobleski reports that community neighbors recognized that despite having three levels of retail space the new Walgreens store footage did not included the retail area of the basement which was allowing the project to circumvent parking and loading zone requirements despite the actual size of the building.
Apparently, the renderings do not contain many of the details required for final plans to be submitted to the Building Department and the neighbors are questioning whether numerous aspects of the design are in keeping with the historical character of the district.
Although the architect Ted Theodore has already reviewed his plans and had them approved by the Chicago Landmarks Commission, neighbors are questioning the whether the design, as portrayed by the renderings and presented at the meeting, comports with the “contextualism” standards for new construction which Walgreens has promised to follow.
Lincoln Park’s Sheffield neighborhood is an excellent example of a commercial and residential neighborhood characteristic of American cities in the late 19th and early 20th century. Most of the neighborhood was constructed during a period of about 30 years from 1875 to 1905.
The neighborhood boasts four Chicago landmark districts: the McCormick Row houses, the Armitage-Halsted Commercial District, the west side of the 2100 block of Fremont, and the 2100 block of Bissell. Include one more Chicago landmark, the Cortland Street Drawbridge a Chicago-style fixed-trunnion bascule bridge.
In the late 60’s, the now demolished Armitage Church—site of the new Walgreens—was also the location of some community tension involving its Pastor Bruce Johnson and Young Lords Organization during some of the darker moments of the neighborhood when the area was undergoing gentrification.
Currently, neighbors are crafting recommendations and comments for consideration to be included into a Community Agreement with Walgreens and the owner so that the building fits into the historic character of the neighborhood.