In a recent town hall in the 49th Ward, Alderwoman Maria Hadden updated community members on the future of the closed St. Ignatius church located at 6559 N Glenwood Avenue in Rogers Park. The church was built in 1917 and designed by noted architect Henry J Schlacks. Schlacks notably started his career in the offices of Adler & Sullivan before starting his own practice.
Parishioners from the former St. Ignatius have been working on a plan to save the church since the initial discernment process began in 2019. The current intent is to have the rectory serve as an Ignatian Mission Center. The mission center would then be leveraged as a resource center for community members. A feasibility study will soon be launched into some of the possible uses including operating an ongoing Food Pantry, offering a Community Gathering space, and Community Counseling and Immigrant and Refugee Services.
During the town hall, ideas for the property site were shared by community members. While not exhaustive, the suggestions included landmarking the church, along with the rectory and Waldorf school building. Some suggested pursuing adaptive reuse of the Waldorf site as a performing arts center, while others still suggested converting or removing the current structures for housing.
According to a Facebook post made by Alderwoman Hadden, the Archdiocese has entered into a number of productive conversations including one with Loyola University. The university has apparently expressed interest in purchasing the former Waldorf School to transform it into student housing. Loyola has not yet purchased the building and is only just initiating discussion. Should Loyola move forward with the purchase it will involve a zoning change.
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I live a block from the church and most are hoping to see the property saved and reused. Some, including myself, are skeptical of Loyola’s interest in “using” the Waldorf School buildings. The university, over the years, has bought three properties on that stretch of Loyola Avenue and torn the buildings down. All of that land is still vacant.
The historic structures are more important, but I meant to ask if anything is known about the future of the church parking lot at Glenwood and Arthur? It’s a very short walk from the church and is probably about the size of four city lots.