Is Tearing Down a Necessary Evil of Renovating?

Posted by Mike Kravitz on Monday, April 10th, 2017 at 3:31pm.


One of the many things people appreciate about visiting Chicago or living here is the preservation of our history and pride in the city. This includes the architecture. Chicago has one of the most recognizable skylines in the world; beyond the impressive steel and glass, the city is home to many old-timey homes that reflect Chicago’s history.

A recent study indicates that many of the older homes in areas like Lincoln Park and Lakeview are being advertised as “tear down” specials. The listings suggest the price for the home is basically paying for the lot and not the home. This hints to the investor that the home isn’t worth restoring and if they bought the spot they could tear down the home in favor of creating a new and state-of-the-art home (or high rise depending upon zoning).

The argument is interesting on both sides. With the growing market and advances in construction and technology, what’s the happy medium, and is there one? Many may ask why the city hasn’t stepped in to protect these homes, but according to Chicago Patterns’ site, the Chicago Historic Resources Survey does not protect the homes in question.

Does tearing down these homes mean the city is turning its back on its heritage and ignoring the preservation of history, or is it necessary to grow as time moves forward? Is it possible to renovate instead of tearing it all down?

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