After several failed or blocked redevelopment proposals, the City of Chicago has finally approved the latest design plan created by bKL Architecture for the Giordano Dance Company’s new studio rising at the Hermon Baptist Church site in 1745 N. Clark St.
Discussion about the church’s redevelopment began in 2012 when the building was put up for sale at the price of $6.5 million. The asking price was later cut down to $3.25 million by 2015. In 2016, the property went under contract with the Ranquist Development Group which planned a 12-story condo tower for the site. Construction as well as the pending sale never pushed through as neighboring condo owners refused to sell air rights.
The 142-year-old church was ultimately bought by the dance company founded by retired Broadway dancer Gus Giordano. Instead of a new-build, bKL’s design for Giordano’s studio calls for the preservation of the church’s original brick structure. Renderings show it will be enclosed in an exoskeleton made of glass and steel.
Additionally, the crystalline structure will only rise slightly higher than the church. Despite zoning changes, from RM-5 Residential Multi-Unit District to B3-5 Community Shopping District, the site’s density will remain unchanged. It will still retain a buildable Floor Area Ratio of 5.0.
Based on the zoning change application the dance company filed with the city October 2017, the new Giordano studio will feature ground floor retail. A terrace will also be built on its rooftop. To date, these are the only amenities revealed. There are no announcements when the project will break ground.