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Noble Square’s St. Boniface Church Could be Saved, but Clock is Ticking

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The threatened 1902 structure may be resurrected as a music school/condo combo

Though a demolition permit was issued Friday for Noble Square’s St. Boniface Church, the Chicago Academy of Music and partner Stas Development are confident that the 1902 Romanesque structure can be preserved under their plan to repurpose the shuttered house of prayer. Vacant since 1990, St. Boniface was deemed structurally unsound two years ago and appeared likely for demolition. The adaptive reuse plan followed a demand from the the city of Chicago earlier this year that property owner Phil Moeller make necessary repairs to the building or demolish it entirely.

Though Moeller’s previous plans to redevelop the property into rental units and senior housing called for the demolition of the church, the more recent proposal from the Chicago Academy of Music hopes to take over the property and see the structure reused as a combination of classrooms, student housing, market-rate condos, a conservatory, and a 300-seat amphitheater style auditorium. The Academy is reportedly working with architectural firm Gensler to refurbish the building’s interior and has tapped Bulley and Andrews to handle the build-out. The proposal also calls for a new residential structure to be constructed just east of the church.

Despite optimism by the music school and its prospective developer, plans to save St. Boniface are far from set in stone at this point. The historic Henry Schlacks-designed structure has already served its 90-day demolition hold back in 2012. With a permit now granted by the city, it’s likely that little can be done to save St. Boniface should the current plans suddenly go south.