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Chicago’s seven “most endangered” buildings

Preservation Chicago releases its 2020 list.

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Preservation Chicago announced the 2020 edition of its annual list of the city’s “7 Most Endangered Buildings” today, with the James R. Thompson Center and Jackson Park each making their fourth appearance. 

Here it is:

The James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph

This state-owned building has made the list before, but the threat’s never been greater: it will go up for sale this year, apparently without any stipulation that it be preserved. Preservation Chicago says there are “repurpose options” that could retain the “critical design features” of this iconic, Helmut Jahn-designed postmodern people’s palace, and seeks landmark designation for it.

Jackson Park, South Shore Cultural Center, and Midway Plaisance

2020 looks like a critical year for decisions about the future of these city park district treasures.  Preservation Chicago would like to see the Obama Presidential Center opt for “a more appropriate site” on the south side than the “internationally significant” Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park, and is also concerned about plans for a PGA golf course that “will cause further damage to the park.”   

Union Station Power House, 301 W. Taylor

This distinctive Art Moderne/Art Deco structure on the Chicago River, designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White in 1932, is owned by Amtrak.  The plans are to tear it down and replace it with a maintenance shed.

Chicago Town and Tennis Club, 1925 W. Thome 

Designed by George W. Maher and Son in 1924 and built in 1925, the former club is owned by Misericordia, which plans to demolish it to make way for new housing.  

Washington Park National Bank, 6300 S. Cottage Grove 

Another building dating to 1924, and “an anchor in the Woodlawn community,” it’s now owned by a developer.  Preservation Chicago suggests that it’s a “perfect candidate for a transit-oriented redevelopment.” 

Central Manufacturing District, Pershing between Ashland and Western

Buildings in this industrial district, which dates back to 1902, are being “chipped away.”  Preservation Chicago wants a city Landmark District designation before further damage is done.

Roseland Michigan Avenue Commercial District, Michigan between 107th and 115th Streets

This historic shopping and entertainment district has lost some buildings, but Preservation Chicago says that what remains—if restored—could benefit from tourism to the Pullman National Monument while serving the community.  v

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