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Developer scraps older terracotta building at Children’s Memorial Hospital site

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Residents were led to believe that the facade would be reused under the hospital’s redevelopment plan

It appears the 1960’s era main building won’t be the only part of Chicago’s abandoned Children’s Memorial Hospital to face the wrecking ball to clear a path for a sprawling mixed-use redevelopment dubbed The Lincoln Common. Assumed safe by many Lincoln Parkers, the two-story 1914 terracotta-clad building occupying the southeast corner of Lincoln and Fullerton is now coming down, reports DNAinfo.

Previously the home to the hospital’s White Elephant Resale Shop, the wedge-shaped building designed by Frank O’DeMoney is supposedly being demolished to widen the sidewalk and accommodate new CDOT bike lanes. While the original plan for the structure was to try to salvage the facade and reassemble it further back from the corner, developer Dan McCaffery tells DNAinfo that a new similar looking but non-terracotta structure will be erected in its place.

While the sight of the older structure biting the dust surprised some members of the community and the press alike, the demolition and subsequent recreation of the annex building was indeed part of the project’s Planned Development (PD) as approved in early 2014. An excerpt of that document reads as follows:

2375 North Lincoln Avenue (also known as the Annex) is located in the Sheffield National Register District only; it is not a Chicago Landmark nor is it listed in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey. The existing building will be demolished and a new building will be constructed on this site that closely resembles the exterior of the former Annex Building, using GFRC cladding materials, aluminum windows and steel canopies. The new building will be constructed to allow for wider sidewalks along West Fullerton and North Lincoln Avenues.

It remains to be seen if the facade of White Elephant’s sibling, a building at the southeast corner of Lincoln and Halsted will saved. The exterior of that 1925 structure—along with the 1931 brick-clad boiler house and laundry building—has been tapped for preservation ”if possible.” However, as in the case of the White Elephant, there is very little preventing the developer from suddenly deeming those components too difficult to save and starting from scratch.

Additionally, the site’s 1932 Renaissance Revival style Nellie A. Black building at Fullerton and Orchard will be demolished and replaced with a similar looking building tapped for senior housing. “Obviously we’re pretty disappointed with the amount of actual preservation and reuse that’s occurring,” said Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago.