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Uptown’s Agudas Achim Synagogue ready to begin a new chapter as apartments

The unique adaptive reuse project has been granted its first construction permit

Space Architects + Planners

A project to convert Uptown’s shuttered Agudas Achim Synagogue into a transit-oriented apartment development was given the all-clear from the City of Chicago to start construction this week. Originally built by architect Henry Dubin of the firm Dubin and Eisenberg in 1922, the former religious structure at 5029 N. Kenmore Avenue features a dramatic stained glass-lined sanctuary plus attached offices, classrooms, a commercial kitchen, and various multi-purpose rooms.

After closing its doors to the public in 2008, the building faced an uncertain future. Despite its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, water damage, vandalism, and deferred maintenance left much of the structure in poor condition. In 2015, the synagogue earned a spot on Preservation Chicago's annual list of the city’s most threatened architecturally significant buildings.

Chicago-based developer and adaptive reuse specialist Cedar Street Companies acquired the property last year for $1.25 million. The group tapped Space Architects + Planners to devise a plan to restore much of the three-story building and divide its interior into 40 rental apartments.

Branded as simply ‘The Synagogue,’ Cedar Street’s residential conversion is slated to include eight studio apartments, 32 one-bedroom apartments, and a 21-car parking lot. With permits now in hand, work to restore this neglected Uptown gem is expected to begin shortly.