Preservation Group Plans Renovation

This article is reprinted courtesy of the ECC News, Fall 1994. The Edgewater Community Council's efforts had the full backing of the Edgewater Historical Society.

The historic Manor House, located at 1029 W. Bryn Mawr, is being restored thanks to extensive ECC efforts. The Manor House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1906 by architect J.E.O. Pridmore, who built several of Chica- go's theatres. Sadly, the property deteriorated drastically during the 1980's. The entire west half of the building stood vacant for 14 years. The previous owner of this half of the Manor House was foreclosed upon by a savings and loan, which later itself went bankrupt. As a result, the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) -- a branch of the federal government created to oversee the assets of failed S & L's -- took possession of the property in 1992. The RTC planned to sell the Manor House as rental housing. ECC considered this use to be inappropriate for the Manor House, as the east half of the building was condominiums. In early 1993, the Council successfully lobbied the RTC to drop the rental requirement. The RTC then sought to sell the building to the highest bidder without considering local community input. Since the property is historic and located on a corner that is very important to Edgewater's stability, ECC wanted to approve the buyer and his or her plans. In order to assure that this would occur, the Council decided to purchase the property itself and then resell it to an approved developer. ECC staff forwarded information about interested developers to the Council's Housing Committee. After meeting with Mr. Jerry Buttimer, president of Preservation Development Corporation (PDC), the committee decided that it would resell the Manor House to PDC. Butti- mer's presentation was excellent. He planned an extensive historic renovation, based on previous experience renovating historic properties. In addition, he knew the building's needs thoroughly, having lived with his wife in the east half of the Manor House for ten years. The Council's plan was supported by U.S. Senator Paul Simon, U.S. Representative Sidney Yates, State Representative Carol Ronen, Alderman Mary Ann Smith, City of Chicago Commissioner of Planning and Development Valerie Jarrett, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, the Landmarks Preservation Council, and the Edgewater Historical Society. As planned, the Council formally purchased the building and immediately sold it to PDC. In the sales documents, PDC agreed to rehabilitate the Manor House in accordance with ECC's high standards for restoring the building's historic value. The Manor House sale represents the first time in the country that a not-for- profit community organization played such a role in securing the restoration of an historic RTC asset. Executive Director Ken Brucks said, "We are thrilled that our efforts will provide a model for other community groups around the country who seek to improve dilapidated historic properties. The renovation of the Manor House, along with our other recent successes on Bryn Mawr Avenue, will greatly improve the area." Mr. Buttimer has renovated the Manor House to sell as condominiums. His work to date has exceeded ECC's expectations. The condominiums will be available for purchase this summer.

Editor's Note: On behalf of EHS -- Bravo, ECC and PDC! And congratulations to Jerry Buttimer, who sold the first condominium unit this summer for $210,000!

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