Preservation News Roundup: November 2018

Below is a roundup of Illinois preservation news stories for the month of November 2018 and updates on some of Landmarks Illinois’ major advocacy efforts. You can also receive these monthly news roundups directly in your inbox by signing up for our newsletters at the bottom of the page.

Efforts to save Harley Clarke Mansion in Evanston continue

November had both good and bad news for the future of the Harley Clarke Mansion in Evanston. First, Evanston voters overwhelmingly voiced support for preserving the historic mansion on the Nov. 6 ballot. More than 80% of voters said they wanted to see the local and national landmark saved, not demolished. The vote followed the Oct. 23 decision by the Evanston Preservation Commission to deny the City’s application for certificate of appropriateness to demolish the Harley Clarke mansion and coach house. Also in November, the Preservation Commission approved a fact finding report that showed Harley Clarke to be in “good working order” and the city’s official figures “could grossly overstate” the estimated cost to repair the mansion.

Despite the strong showing of support for preservation by residents and the Preservation Commission during November, the Evanston City Council has not taken demolition off the table. In late November, the City filed an appeal to the Preservation Commission’s Oct. 23 decision denying a certificate of appropriateness for demolition of the mansion. The City Council’s Rules Committee will decide Monday, Dec. 3 whether to follow normal procedure and send the appeal to the Council’s Planning and Development Committee or to the full City Council, which is not normal protocol. See here for more information on the legislative history of this issue and a list of donors who have committed to funding the mansion’s demolition.

Read more in the news:

Attorney General’s office to consider disclosure of Harley Clarke donation amounts
The Daily Northwestern. November 26

City files Harley Clarke appeal
Evanston Now, November 21

Harley Clarke Mansion in ‘overall good working order,’ according to preservation commission, report
Evanston Review, November 17

Preservation Commission approves additional findings for preservation of Harley Clarke Mansion
The Daily Northwestern, November 14

Attorney General’s office reviewing denial by Evanston to disclose individual Harley Clarke Mansion demolition donations
Evanston Review, November 13

Voters give a resounding ‘yes’ to referendum on saving Harley Clarke Mansion
Evanston Review, November 7

State will not sell Thompson Center in 2019

A reuse rendering of the Thompson Center LI released in April 2018 in conjunction with building architect Helmut Jahn.
State will not sell Thompson Center in 2019

A report released this month clarified the state will not pursue a sale in 2019 of the iconic James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. LI included the 1985 Helmut Jahn-designed Thompson Center on its Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois in 2017 and 2018. Additionally, in 2018, LI released reuse renderings to visually demonstrate how the Post-Modern building could be privately redeveloped as a mixed-use destination
rather than marketed only as a cleared redevelopment site.

Read more in the news:

Thompson Center gets a temporary reprieve from state sale
Chicago Tribune, November 28

Sale of Chicago’s iconic Thompson Center delayed through 2019
The Architect’s Newspaper, November 21

See LI's Thompson Center Renderings

LI asks to reopen regulatory review in Rock Island as historic courthouse faces demolition

LI asks to reopen regulatory review in Rock Island as historic courthouse faces demolition

On Thursday, Nov. 29, the Rock Island Public Building Commission approved a bid to demolish the county’s historic courthouse, included on LI’s 2018 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. Local preservationists and Landmarks Illinois, however, have not given up trying to preserve the 1897 building.

LI called attention to the Rock Island Courthouse on its 2018 Most Endangered list due to the demolition threat the building faced as a new county courthouse – called the Justice Center Annex – was being built nearby. Court functions are currently moving to that new building as construction is finalized.

Just this week, Landmarks Illinois sent a letter to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) requesting the regulatory review process for the Justice Center Annex construction be reopened. In its letter, LI states that because the 2016 review of the new construction failed to consider adverse effects to the historic courthouse that it will be replacing, the review was incomplete. LI asked for the Public Building Commission to be required to consult with SHPO on its proposed actions to the Rock Island County Courthouse, as part of an updated project area. The courthouse was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. LI awaits SHPO’s response to the letter, submitted Nov. 29. We will update you as this news progresses.

Read more from the news:

Bid to demolish courthouse approved
Dispatch-Argus, November 29

Efforts to save courthouse continue as demolition bids are considered
Dispatch-Argus, November 27

Preservationists still trying to save RICO Courthouse one month from demo, November 20

Architect Objects to Demolition of Courthouse
WVIK, November 19

Bids opened for demolition of courthouse
Dispatch-Argus, November 16

When the old RICo Courthouse is gone, then what?
Dispatch-Argus, November 15

Opposition to razing courthouse grows as bids are opened
Dispatch-Argus, November 14

Attempt to overturn courthouse demolition rejected by county board
Dispatch-Argus, November 14

Learn More about the Rock Island County Courthouse

Uptown Theatre rehabilitation project progresses, start date announced

Uptown Theatre rehabilitation project progresses, start date announced

The Chicago Community Development Commission this month approved city funding for the Uptown Theatre rehabilitation project and authorized the city’s Department of Planning and Development to negotiate a redevelopment agreement with theater owner Jam Productions and developer Farpoint. The commission signed off on $13 million in tax increment financing for the project estimated to cost $75 million overall. The city will also reportedly provide $14 million in property assessed clean energy financing and $3 million through the Chicago’s Adopt-a-Landmark program. The project is scheduled to begin in the summer and reopen to the public in 2021.

Read more in the news:

Uptown Theater Renovation Would Take 18 Months, Boost Capacity To 5,800
Block Club Chicago, November 14

Uptown Theatre’s $75 million restoration will begin next summer
Chicago Tribune, November 13

Uptown Theatre restoration working toward summer start date
Curbed Chicago, November 13

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