Becker-Friedman institute construction begins at CTS site

Staff Writer

Renovations on 5757 S. University Ave. have begun.

The University of Chicago is adapting the former Chicago Theological Seminary to the Becker-Friedman Institute for Research in Economics. Work began after the building’s last tenant, the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, moved out of the basement last year.

The entrance to the building will be moved to the south side, along 58th Street. Underground excavations will provide additional space for classrooms and mechanical equipment. The alley that used to divide the building is being moved.

“The university values the residential scale and history of Woodlawn Avenue, and we felt there was an opportunity to work with the community and create a comprehensive plan for this unique Hyde Park location,” Alicia Murasaki, executive director of planning and design at the office of facilities services, said in a press release.

The building will retain some of the original stained glass. Renovation on other properties on the block has been underway.

5701 S. Woodlawn Ave., will be the home of the Institute of Politics, led by David Axlerod. The Paulson Institute, 5711 S. Woodlawn Ave., was the source of some neighborhood contention because the metal staircase that was added to the front of the building didn’t fit with the residential character of the neighborhood.

Neighbors would have preferred to see a reconstruction of the original porch instead of the modern addition. The stairs do keep within the bounds of Planned Development 43, a document that governs how the U. of C. uses its land and what uses and densities are permitted.