This week a group of impassioned professional and amateur circus performers made their appeal to the Logan Square community and 35th Ward Alderman Carlos Rosa for a zoning change to convert a brick church into a high-wire training facility. In perhaps a first for Chicago community zoning meeting, there was actually a circus performance to open the discussion. Billing themselves as the city's "premier teaching, training and performance space for the aerial and circus arts," Aloft Loft is seeking a zoning change for the First Spanish United Church of Chicago (3322 W. Wrightwood), at the northeast corner of Kimball and Wrightwood. The up-zoning — from RS-3 to B2-3 — is needed to legalize the church's former parsonage as a three-unit residential building and the legalize the business use in a predominantly residential area.
Aloft's owner, Shayna Swanson, made the pitch to the largely supportive gathering which seemed evenly split between patrons of the school and neighboring residents supportive of the use but concerned about whether the up-zoning could result in a tear-down and large redevelopment of the site. The church was listed for sale for $1.3 million and Aloft, which is leaving its leased space at 2000 W. Fulton, has raised more than $60,000 in a crowdfunding campaign to fund the conversion if the zoning is approved.
Swanson told the audience that the church's high-ceilings made it ideal for Aloft and that its location near transit was a good fit for her students who make a habit of using bicycles and transit.
A recording of the meeting will also be posted on 35th Ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa's website. No word on how quickly a decision will be made.
107-Year-Old Church to Circus Project Seeks Zoning Change [DNAinfo]
·Previous Logan Square coverage [Curbed Chicago]