Initial details have been revealed for the residential conversion of the Our Lady Lourdes Convent at 4637 N Ashland Avenue in Uptown. Located just north of the intersection with W Wilson Avenue and across the street from the namesake church, the plan will bring new life to the vacant structure similar to other conversions seen for old congregation buildings across the city. Its new owner has tapped local architects Pappageorge Haymes on the design of the new interiors and exterior repairs.
Our Lady Lourdes has been a staple of the Uptown community since its first service in 1892 and in 1916 hired Henry Worthmann and J.G. Steinbach to design their new church building. The Spanish Romanesque-style structure became well known as the neighborhood would later embrace Spanish and Moorish styles for many of its prominent landmarks.The church features a chapel that holds a replica of the grotto found in Lourdes, France and used to be open around the clock. In 1929 the church was moved across Ashland as the road was expanded and in 1930 the new convent was built.
In a familiar story, dwindling attendance numbers led to its demise closing in 2021 as it merged with St. Mary of the Lake. The convent didn’t fare much better with its 27 rooms being empty by 1996, which is when the first outsiders were allowed to move in and form a co-op according to the Chicago Tribune. Having closed prior to the church, it was sold to its current owners in 2020 for $1.35 million, who just paid $3.7 million for a permit to begin the conversion into 14 residential units spread across its three stories and 12,500 square feet. No further details have been revealed but we can expect a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom layouts.
Future residents will be able to utilize a handful of parking spots currently on site, though no details have been revealed on what will happen to the current two-space garage in the rear. Bus service is accessible for CTA Route 81 via a two-minute walk, Route 22 via a five-minute walk, as well as CTA Brown Line at Damen station via a 12-minute walk. While no construction timeline has been made public, work inside the building has been seen with the permit allowing for full crews to commence upgrades to the structure.
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