IRVING PARK – Almost a year after a North Side Catholic church hosted its final mass, the Archdiocese of Chicago is reviewing offers from potential buyers for the church’s campus near the border of Irving Park and Avondale.
Immaculate Heart of Mary Church’s campus stretches more than a block along North Spaulding Avenue just south of Irving Park Road, and it includes a parking lot, rectory and school building.
The property is being marketed in its entirety, but the archdiocese will also consider selling off one or more parcels individually, according to the listing.
The 83,430-square-foot property was put on the market in April with a May deadline for initial offers, said Ari Topper, Baum Realty Group’s managing director.
“After our deadline for offers, we went back to the bidders for another round, kind of a best and final round, and so right now we’re still in the process of evaluating those,” Topper said.
The bids are from a wide variety of interested parties, he said.
“We did have some developers looking at it. We had some investors looking at it. They wanted to retain the buildings, ”Topper said. “It’s definitely not a foregone conclusion that the buildings will be knocked down, but we wouldn’t want to handicap anything either.”
Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33rd) said her office has not received any proposal for the property.
The concrete and masonry church, 3834 N. Spaulding Ave., is about 14,292 square feet with the majority of its interior comprising the congregation room with 37-foot ceilings. It has an adjacent office and ancillary space.
The two-story rectory building is about 5,320 square feet and sits on about 12,500 square feet of land. The building features residential and office space.
The two-story school building, 3820 N. Spaulding Ave., is about 43,296 square feet and has a 6,000-square-foot parking lot. It’s home to the Chicago International Charter School with a lease expiring June 30, 2025, according to the listing.
Immaculate Heart of Mary’s parish was established in 1912 when Irving Park was a predominantly Polish neighborhood, former Rev. Jim Heneghan said.
Heneghan described the church building as a “really big box” and is curious what the next owners plan to do with it.
“The current building is the third church that’s been built on that site,” Heneghan said. “If you look at some of the windows on the church, they were built with the influence of Polish immigrants that had helped support the church at one time.”
Real estate company Harrington Brown is partnering with Baum to sell the property.
“You find that these types of properties are very attractive to other religious organizations, other schools and other community groups for reuse, and also for primarily residential developers,” Harrington Brown President David Brown said. “In a situation like this, our job is really to have conversations with the widest possible audience of potential users.”
Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish ceased operations July 1. Parishioners were absorbed into Our Lady of Mercy and St. Edward parishes as part of the Archdiocese’s Renew My Church initiative, spokesman Susan Thomas said.
The school building was dedicated in 1962 and was the home of the Immaculate Heart of Mary’s Catholic grade school until it closed in 2005, she said. The school building was leased to the charter school in 2007, Thomas said.
The rectory building appears to have been built in 1916 and does not appear to have been rebuilt since, Thomas said.
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