For now, faded Armour Boulevard buildings will be preserved


The City Plan Commission on Friday approved work to preserve four embattled Armour Boulevard properties, but the developer says they will still demolish them.

The four buildings at 100-118 W. Armour have prompted a historic preservation fight that defies easy answers.

The owners are the Silliman Group and MAC Properties. The development and management companies have renovated and manage 21 historic buildings along Armour, which created about 1,500 market rate apartments.

They are also involved in the ongoing renovation of the historic Ambassador apartments on Broadway, to be completed next year.

But the group that has probably restored more historic city buildings than any in history is under attack from historic preservationists.

The developers say the four small apartment buildings on Armour would cost too much to renovate. They proposed demolishing them and building two new apartment buildings.

In September, the Historic Preservation Commission voted to forbid demolition, blocking it for three years.

Silliman tried an appeal to the Board of Zoning Adjustment, which also failed.

On Friday, the plan commission approved changes to preserve the buildings, like removing and storing crumbling porches and columns and doing other work.

On Monday, Peter Cassel, Silliman and MAC director, said they still intend to demolish.

He has said the delay for 2 ½ more years just hurts the neighborhood and company rentals in the area.

Advocates for the buildings hope Silliman Group will agree to sell them to another developer. President of the Old Hyde Park neighborhood Martin Phillips said yesterday he wants to see the developer complete the restoration of the last four of the buildings they purchased and that they told the neighborhood and the city they would restore.

“These four structures are wonderful historic buildings, laden with architectural features that cannot be found in today’s construction and very expensive to duplicate. We believe that Armour Boulevard is the “gateway” into our community. These buildings are an integral part of maintaining the historic fabric of our neighborhood,” he said.

If the developers cannot find a plan to restore the buildings, Phillips said the neighborhood would like to see them sold or given to a developer that could restore them.


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