I invite you to attend a community meeting to review and provide your opinion on a proposal for a performing arts center in the building at 7071-77 N. Ashland (southeast corner of Ashland and Estes)(see photo on right).
Mr. Bart O’Toole, an architect by training, is proposing to establish the performing arts venue in the existing building. It will support his theater company, The Cuckoo’s Theatre Project. He proposes to reuse the beautiful structure with a low density, neighborhood friendly venue for his theater company, as well as providing space for music and acting classes and community events.
The building was constructed in 1916 as the home of the Rogers Park Women’s Club, whose name is still inscribed over the entrance to the building. The Club occupied the building until 1983, when dwindling membership, coupled with higher maintenance costs and taxes, compelled the organization to put the building on the market.
The Unification Church purchased the building later that year and used it as its Midwest headquarters and a house of worship until 2012. The building sat vacant for approximately four years until Mr. O’Toole purchased it earlier this year.
The Chicago Historic Resources Survey gives the building an “Orange” designation, which means that it possesses some architectural feature or historical association that makes it potentially significant.
The property currently is zoned RT4. In order to convert the former church to a performing arts venue, Mr. O’Toole must receive from the City Council a zoning change to B3-2.
Two theaters will occupy the building. The main theater will seat 100 people and the studio theater will provide seating for 36.
The Zoning Administrator ruled that the venue could get credit from its previous use as a church and is not required to provide off-street parking. However, I have asked Mr. O’Toole to arrange for as much off-street parking as possible. He already has secured an agreement with St. Paul’s Church By the Lake to allow for the parking of 10 cars in their lot on Estes just west of Ashland and has reached out to Field School.
To view the current and proposed floor plans, click on the attachments below:
I urge you to attend the community meeting to learn more about the proposal, ask questions and provide me with your opinion of the proposed development. If you are unable to attend the meeting, please feel free to share your questions and comments by replying to this email.