CHICAGO (CBS) — Even as the private Francis W. Parker School in the Lincoln Park neighborhood expands into a neighboring building, the school is already talking about buying up more property.
Earlier this summer, the school at 330 W. Webster Ave. finished up a deal to buy the building next to the campus at 317-325 W. Belden Ave. The school is planning to convert that building, which could take a decade.
In a letter to neighbors, the school offered to cut deals with condo owners in yet another building, the Belden by the Park building at 327-335 W. Belden Ave.
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However, Parker said the buildings’ façades will be maintained so the street can keep its charm.
“As you may know, a request has been submitted to the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development that the City create a landmark district that would include these two buildings on the south side of Belden (along with two additional nearby buildings),” the letter said. “While the City’s planning staff has yet to make a determination on whether to recommend that the City begin the designation process for such a ‘courtyard building’ district, Parker has decided to preserve the facades of both buildings.”
In the spring, the condo association at Belden by the Park accused Francis Parker of orchestrating a “hostile takeover.”
In a statement Monday, attorney Jamal Edwards, who represents homeowners at Belden by the Park, said: “Francis Parker claims to be a good neighbor, but it has been anything but neighborly to homeowners at Belden by the Park. Instead of being transparent and working with owners to gain 100 percent buy-in for its plans, it engaged in a covert and hostile takeover of family homes, in its own words, ‘under cover of night.’ Parker engaged in fraud using straw buyers to try and take control of the board and force owners out. That’s why we are in litigation and the other condo association is not.”