On Wednesday, Dec. 10 the council and members of the congregation met with Bryan Esenberg, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Planning and Development for the City of Chicago. With a potential future sale of St. Luke’s building in mind, Bryan delivered a presentation that helped us understand possible redevelopment and preservation strategies and possibilities for supporting affordable rental and home ownership opportunities.
Bryan encouraged us to think about our values, our financial need, our openness to risk, and our timeline. We learned many things, but here are a few highlights:
- It would be possible to partner with a developer if we want to re-develop the site. There could be options for directing the type of development and, perhaps, gleaning some income from market-rate housing down the line.
- “Affordable housing” means many things and is more expensive to build than market-rate housing. Affordable housing developers often do not pay for land, as the cost to build is so high and there is free or very cheap land available across the city.
- We are zoned in a category that restricts use of the land to single-family homes, two-unit buildings, or possibly three-unit buildings. Changing the zoning to allow a developer to build more densely-populated housing or turn the facility into a public use space would be challenging.
At this same meeting we heard from St. Luke’s members and Logan Square community members who continue to be concerned about a possible sale. They urged the council to continue to consider multiple options, think hard about our finances and giving, and to be communicative with the congregation and with the wider community. In the next few weeks, council will be sending letters to community organizations and neighboring churches to update them on St. Luke’s financial situation and fill them in on conversations about our property.
The council is very aware that there are many moving pieces, many opinions, and that we have a responsibility to keep the congregation informed. We will make every effort to do so, but please reach out to the office staff or these people at any time for more information and to share your perspective/
Jessica Schimpff, council chair and building sale working group chairperson:
Justine Bandstra, interim worship spaces working group chairperson:
Katie Baxter, St. Luke’s at a crossroads and communications working group chairperson:
Please review the StLukesProperty Presentation 11Dec2014 to see the presentation that was viewed. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions!