Ukrainian Village Association to vote on current development plans for former St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church and School


On July 17, it was pointed outh that the second floor added "bridge" will be removed

The Ukrainian Village Association (UVNA) will have a review, update, discussion and vote on the former St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church and School, 913-925 N. Hoyne, on Thurs., Aug. 14, at Whisk, 2018 W. Chicago Ave. 

Now owned by Alex Troyanovsky, Mokin Development LLC, who purchased the 7-lot site in February 2013 [see History below], his condo plans received unanimous approval at the July 9 Landmarks Permit Review Committee with 8 conditions put on the 925 property and 5 on the 913 property. 


Former UVNA officers Samantha Arnold(l)and Paul Matwyshyn(r) answer questions as Steve Niketopoulos listens

UVNA held a meeting outdoors at the Hoyne property on July 17, with the new project architect Victor Drapszo, Red Architects, giving an update. Alderman Bob Fioretti, 2nd Ward, in which the property now resides under the remap, has indicated that he will not support permits and zoning changes until UVNA has expressed their opinion. Tim Stevens, 2nd Ward Chief of Staff, was present at the meeting. 


Victor Drapszo

Drapszo, at the outdoor meeting, indicated that the project will be 20 units of two- and three-bedroom units and went over a list of specifics about the stained glass windows, other windows and facades. 

He then stated that there would be no curb-cut on Hoyne, as was proposed earlier, and that all 20 parking spaces would be accessed off the alley. 


Several Walton St. neighbors were concerned about alley issues

Neighbors directly behind the church, whose buildings face Walton, expressed concerns about increased traffic, that the alley was not wide enough and that the extra cars exiting via the alley on to Walton would be less safe then exiting onto Hoyne via a curb-cut. 


Alley looking south from Walton, shows neighbor's parking area on left

In fact, the alley width is the standard width, using a curb-cut would reduce parking on Hoyne by three cars and many other neighbors felt that it was less safe to exit via a curb-cut to a residential street. Drapszo indicated that Landmarks Commission preferred alley access. 

Since the meeting, UVNA President Steve Niketopoulos has been working with the neighbors and architect to address the concerns about rear parking and traffic. 


Tim Stevens (l) listens as neighbors ask questions and express their opinions

In a Tuesday conversation with Drapszo, he explained that the 10 parking space "under the church" are actually at about ground level, which are accessed by one door. Four garage doors on the school property, will each accommodate two cars. The remaining two spaces will be between the buildings, midway between the front and back of the property, kept from street view by hedges. 

He also added that the units will all have two baths and the there will be duplexes in both buildings. "I have actually had people calling me asking about the units," he said.


The youngest questioner was concerned about the hours for construction as his bedroom is close to the buildings

The Thursday meeting is an opportunity for all concerned neighbors and other concerned community members to ask all their questions before taking a vote to support the project or not. 

Architects Worthmann & Steinbach designed the buildings which were built in 1905-1906 by German immigrants.

As stated in a Landmark document, a 1942 statement by St. John's Reverend Sauer included the facts that most of the congregation had moved from the neighborhood and they discussed moving the congregation for the third time. 

Like other congregations in the West Town community who stayed until the 1970s and 80s, St. John's continued to use the church and operate the school until 1974. Another example is St. Paul's Evangelical Norwegian Lutheran Church in the 2200 block of W. North Ave. 

In the case of St. John's they dissolved in 1974 and sold the property to the  Seventh-day Adventists. They started a Spanish-speaking congregation in the church and used the school as a social service center. Then, ass with the congregation before them, their congregation moved from the area and they decided to sell the property. 


The exterior of the buildings after renovation will look close to the way they have looked for over a century

While the Ukrainian Village Landmark District was created in 2002, it was extended. In 2004, it went southward to include four blocks of Walton Street. In 2006 the District was further expanded to include blocks north and south of Walton Street.  The church opted out of being included. 

Auctioned in May 2012, there was no buyer. In September 2012 Tim Desmond representing Hoyne Development Partners LLC and Ken DeMuth of Pappageorge Haymes Partners, presented their plans for the adaptive reuse of the St. John Church and School to UVNA. Pappageorge Haymes was the architect. 

In the meantime, an effort to preserve the buildings was underway to make the buildings part of the Ukrainian Village Landmark District. 

A public hearing was convened on Tues., Dec. 11, 2012. Matt Crawford, City Planner for the Historic Preservation Division of the City of Chicago, Department of Housing and Economic Development, gave a presentation on the proposed landmark designation. 

Mr. Paul Saint-Villiers, Corporation Secretary of the Illinois Association of Seventh-day Adventists, representing the Owner, requested and was granted party status by the hearing officer and made a presentation in opposition to the designation. 

Two statements were made by members of the general public, in favor of the proposed designation: Lisa DiChiera, representing Landmarks Illinois and Jonathan Fine, representing Preservation Chicago.  In addition, a letter of support for the proposed designation was presented from Scott Waguespack, Alderman of the 32"'' Ward. 

By way of an extension proposed to Chicago City Council by the City of Chicago Commission on Chicago Landmarks on Jan. 10, 2013, they became part of the District

During initial UVNA meetings with Troyanovsky, his architect was Orest Baranyk, Baranyk Associates, Ltd. who introduced the original plans for 19 units.



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