CTA moving historic Lakeview building for work on Red and Purple Modernization Project

Jessica D'Onofrio Image
Monday, August 2, 2021
CTA moving historic Lakeview building for work on track
A historic six-flat apartment building has stood by the L tracks for more than a century, but now it's moving day.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Construction crews will begin moving a 127-year-old apartment building in Lakeview for work on the CTA Red and Purple Modernization Project.

"It's a two-day process, so we'll be done and in our final location and elevation by the end of the day tomorrow," said Lauren LaSalle with the Walsh Floor Design Build Team.

The three-story Vautravers Building at 947 West Newport Avenue is being jacked up from its foundation and slid 30 feet to the west toward North Clark Street in the shadow of Wrigley Field.

The building's location places it directly in the path of new elevated Red and Purple Line tracks, which are being rebuilt and straightened between Belmont and Addison

By moving the building, the CTA can remove a curve in the tracks that slows train traffic.

"This is the first time that the CTA is going to move a physical building out of the way so that we can build new track structure," said CTA spokesperson Stephanie Cavazos.

The CTA bought 16 buildings to make way for the three-block, $570 million flyover and track reconstruction.

The Vautravers Building is the only one left standing, because of its designation as part of a historic district.

Preservation Chicago Executive Director Ward Miller called it a victory.

"We'd like to see more buildings moved if that's what it will take to retain them because we are a city of architecture and if we keep losing buildings like this in the future we're gonna look like anyplace USA," Miller said.

Engineers say Monday they will lift the 1,000 ton building up just high enough to remove the oak cribbing under the yellow beams. Then they will do a test run, moving it a couple feet to the west.

"Once we do that, tomorrow will be the big move," LaSalle said. "We'll move it 30 feet to the west and four feet to the south."

The CTA says the red/purple bypass should be finished this fall or winter. That's when the brand new tracks would be in use for a speedier commute.

"We're hoping it'll save about five minutes for each ride through the entire CTA system," Cavazos said.