As reported by 42nd ward alderman Brendan Reilly
, in a November 28th letter addressed to "Residents of the Gold Coast Neighborhood", architect/developer William T. Bickford
has announced . . .
Upon further review of the building, site and neighborhood context, we have decided not to proceeed with the purchase of the Three Arts Club building. We will continue to develop The Chicago Columbarium concept at a new location for we believe it is an essential building program for the City and its citizens.
So it's back to square one for the 1914 structure that was the first major design by John A. Holabird. Its current status is described succinctly in Bickford's concluding paragraph:
The Three Arts Club building is an architectural treasure in need of occupancy. We hope a new use that is compliant with zoning, economically feasible and accepted by the neighborhood will provide for the restoration of this Chicago Landmark.
The structure has been empty since the club management vacated the premises in 2003. Rumors that the building is now being eyed as a possible new home for the Vannacutt Psychiatric Institute remain unconfirmed.
FROM Sue Basko:
I am very glad this proposal is dead. However, Chicago zoning law MUST be amended so that a Columbarium is not allowed as of right in any residential zone. I did a comparison of the zoning of several different cities to see how they handled this issue -- and Chicago's zoning law comes up as substandard and inadequately protective of residential values and family living. Columbaria belong in established cemeteries - and most cities realize this.
ALSO - There is a group of us that want to get this building back to being a home and club for women in the arts. The Three Arts Club board sits on about $7 million left from the $13.75 million sale. They need to be persuaded to do the right thing for women in the arts as well as for the Gold Coast area.
If anyone wants to help with this, please contact THREEARTSFRIENDS@GMAIL.COM
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