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updated: 7/26/2011 5:46 PM

Preservationists question demolition of Glen Ellyn building

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  • The Glen Ellyn village board has approved demolition of a century-old building at 810 N. Main St. An attached commercial storefront will be kept.

    The Glen Ellyn village board has approved demolition of a century-old building at 810 N. Main St. An attached commercial storefront will be kept.
    Daily Herald File Photo


Despite concerns from preservationists, a century-old building near a strategic corner in Glen Ellyn will be coming down.

The village board voted unanimously this week to approve demolition of the rear residential portion of 810 N. Main St., located near Stacy's Corners at the intersection of Main and St. Charles and Geneva roads. An attached commercial storefront that houses a nail salon will be kept.

Lee Marks, chairman of the village's historic preservation commission, asked trustees on Monday to put the demolition plans on hold until another restoration architect evaluates the building's historic value and provides a cost estimate for possible restoration.

"I don't want to see the village make a mistake it will live to regret some day later on," Marks said. "We've knocked down dozens and dozens of buildings in Glen Ellyn that should never have been lost. I think we need to be real cautious when we're taking buildings down."

Village President Mark Pfefferman noted that a task force appointed to evaluate the property's potential recommended the structure come down.

And in April, the village board voted to hire a preservation architect to take a look. Its report stated that while the building's exterior is well preserved, the interior has been significantly altered, and it could cost anywhere between $283,000 to $392,000 to renovate.

"The board looked at this very, very closely," Pfefferman said. "It's not without some duress that this recommendation is being made."

Trustee Diane McGinley, the village board liaison to the historic preservation commission, said the house contains mold and hasn't been maintained. Keeping the building in its current state becomes a safety issue, she said.

Marks suggested some smaller restoration architecture firms likely would quote much lower costs for building rehab.

The building is in and around the site of the Glen Ellyn Historical Society's planned history park, for which funding has slowed due to economic conditions. In 2006, the village purchased the 810 N. Main property, and plans called for the society to eventually reimburse the village and use it as part of the history park.

But the society turned over full usage and ownership rights to the village last year in exchange for relieving some of the group's debt.

Pfefferman said this week that the society's needs and interest in the house have changed, and in the short term, group officials would prefer open space there.

Demolition is expected in the next 30 to 60 days, according to Staci Hulseberg, the village's planning and development director.

Meanwhile, the Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce previously has expressed interest in relocating its offices to the attached commercial storefront at 810 N. Main.