St. James Church, an imposing 19th century neo-Gothic edifice that is among Chicago's oldest houses of worship, will be demolished — likely within months — according to the city's Roman Catholic Archdiocese.
The 137-year-old brick-and-limestone church at 2936 S. Wabash has been closed for more than two years due to structural issues that also forced the archdiocese to put protective scaffolding over the sidewalk in front of the building. The church's condition is also the subject of pending case in Building Court. "It needs to be rebuilt, essentially, or demolished," said Tom Kennedy, the archdiocese's director of real estate.
Kennedy said it could cost as much as $12 million to rebuild and restore the church. The archdiocese has begun a campaign to build a new St. James Church nearby for about $4 million — a plan that was announced to the congregation last August during a visit by Cardinal Francis George. "It's a viable parish that the cardinal wants to support," Kennedy said.
The archdiocese last month applied for a city permit to raze the building — an outcome that would also remedy its Building Court case.