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Adaptive reuse plan for Andersonville’s Trumbull School falls through

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The property’s contract owner still has high hopes for its future redevelopment

A plan that would have seen Andersonville’s shuttered Lyman Trumbull Elementary School redeveloped into housing and a new facility for TimeLine Theatre will not move forward. Buffalo Grove-based Svigos Asset Management had planned a flexible performance space for the local theatre as well as 49 residential units for the 1909 Dwight H. Perkins-designed school which has been unoccupied since 2013.

As reported this summer, the plan to renovate Trumbull was contingent on the TimeLine/Svigos venture securing historic preservation tax credits. Those funds, however, could only be awarded if the building was given landmark status — a designation that came with restrictions that were at odds with what the development team hoped to achieve. This clash was reportedly responsible for the project’s undoing.

"The land-marking process for the building added complication to the project that simply made it too difficult for TimeLine to make Trumbull their home," said Alderman Pat O'Connor (40th) via an email blast late Friday. O’Connor expressed his disappointment in the outcome, mentioning that it was "not a reflection on the effort put forth by any party."

TimeLine echoed the Alderman's sentiments in a separate statement. "After extensive and exhaustive work, it has become clear that there is an inherent conflict between what renovations are allowed in order to meet the requirements related to the developer’s tax credits, and what renovations are essential to meet TimeLine’s goal of building a flexible and intimate home," said TimeLine Board President John M. Sirek.

According to the 40th Ward newsletter, Svigos is still the contract purchaser of the Trumbull and is expected to close on the property by the end of next month. Though Alderman O’Connor’s email goes on to mention that the developer is "working diligently to find a new theater partner" for the Trumbull space, any future plan would presumably face the same hurdles that resulted in the dissolution of TimeLine partnership.

Also optimistic is Lakeview East-based TimeLine Theatre company, a group that remains committed to securing a new space. Despite the being disappointed to see the Trumbull deal fall through, TimeLine is confident that it can find a home that will "support its mission and growing audience well into the future."