Shiloh Baptist Church site discussed at 4th Ward meeting

Architect Robert W. Kirk and Ald. Sophia King (4th) listen as developer John Liu says, “the building demolition, we have to it very carefully; we have to do it by hand,” during an explanation of the initial phase of the conversion of Shiloh Baptist Church, 4840 S. Dorchester Ave., into a 13-unit residential building that involves the dismantling of three of the four outer walls of the church, during a 4th Ward meeting at St. Paul and The Redeemer Episcopal Church, 4945 S. Dorchester Ave., Thursday, Feb. 15. – Marc Monaghan

By JOSEPH PHILLIPS
Staff Writer

Ald. Sophia King (4th) hosted a public meeting at St. Paul & the Redeemer Church, 4945 S. Dorchester Ave., to discuss the latest updates on the site of the former Shiloh Baptist Church, 4840 S. Dorchester Ave., Feb. 15.

“We are here tonight to look at the Shiloh project,” King said. “It’s been about four years since the last time they’ve presented here. I think there have been a lot of concerns of what’s going to happen with the project both short term and long
term.”

In a presentation with developer John Liu and architect Robert Kirk, owner of Group A Architects, King said that the group has already begun demolition on the project and is currently awaiting the city’s approval for a construction permit to build.

The former house of worship sat vacant after the congregation left in 2002, as the site was purchased by Liu in 2014.

During the presentation, Kirk displayed rendering images, blueprints and floor plans of a three-story building which consisted of 13 Townhouse units (ranging from 2,500 to 4,000 square feet), an upstairs and downstairs, 4 bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths, and underground basement parking, extending the building to four stories.

A view taken, last Friday, of Shiloh Baptist Church, 4840 S. Dorchester Ave., from the east toward the west across Dorchester Avenue. – Marc Monaghan

In addition to the presentation, Kirk and Liu listened and considered residents’ concerns about the buildings landmark status, preserving the character of the neighborhood, size and density, parking and traffic flow, and how they will actively communicate with leaders and stakeholders of the community once approved.

On the issues of parking and traffic flow within the community, Liu said his crew would only work according to schedule.

“Our hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday,” said Liu. “Trucks will be operating on our property only.”

Liu explained once the permit is granted to him by the city, the project will consist of a 3-to 4-month demolition process. He explained that the length of the process is designed to help carefully preserve the arks of the historical landmark building. He believes if approved by the city, the construction project will take up to 9 months to a year to finish, with a possible completion date in 2019.

Several residents shared their thoughts throughout the meeting about the building but were given limited answers in reply due to the group’s limited means to build without a permit.

The group is currently awaiting a decision from the Chicago Department of Planning and Development – Landmark Division, on guidelines and the landmark process. A representative of the department was attendance.

j.phillips@hpherald.com