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Developers pull plug on high-rise next to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple

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The 299-foot proposal would have been Oak Park’s tallest building

A street level rendering of 835 Lake Street.
Golub & Co./Solomon Cordwell Buenz

A plan to build a 28-story apartment tower less than a half a block from Oak Park’s historic Lloyd Wright-designed Unity Temple will not be moving forward.

On Friday, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy announced that it had received a letter from Golub & Company stating that the Chicago-based developer had decided to “terminate its efforts” to redevelop the parcel at 835 W. Lake Street.

Golub first unveiled its proposal in November. Residents, as well as advocacy organizations, were quick to raise concerns over the tower’s 299-foot height and its potential cast shadows on Unity Temple’s beautifully restored stained glass coffered ceiling.

“Professional architects with whom we consulted stated that if a structure more than 100 feet in height is built at 835 Lake Street, it will greatly increase shadowing both into the sanctuary and Unity House, and severely alter Wright’s design intention in those spaces,” said the Conservancy in a statement.

The cancellation of 835 W. Lake is a victory for preservationists pushing to have the 1908 Oak Park house of worship—and seven other notable Wright building—added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. An online petition opposing Golub’s tower had collected more than 600 signatures.