A River Forest building and an Oak Park building were today placed on a preservation groups watch list. Landmarks Illinois (LMI) placed the River Forest Bank Building and the Foley Rice Cadillac Used Car Center building on their 2007 watch list. The list, which highlights 13 endangered structures throughout the Chicago area is intended as a compliment to LMI’s Most Endangered Places in Illinois list which was announced earlier this year. The watch list was released at a noon press conference at the Chicago Cultural Center as well as on the organization’s website.

The River Forest Bank Building at the corner of Lake and Franklin Streets, as an apartment and commercial structure, was designed in 1912 by noted Prairie School architect William Drummond, who also designed the River Forest Women’s Club.

The building was sold last year to a local developer, who has not announced plans for the structure, but who has stated that all options remain open. Local preservationists, led by River Forest Historic Preservation Commission chairman Laurel McMahon, have expressed serious concerns that the building may well be torn down to make way for upscale condominiums. McMahon was attending the news conference downtown and unavailable for comment, but said she will have much to say about the issue later.

The Foley Rice Cadillac Used Car Center, in the 700 block of Madison,  was originally a Packard dealership. The building was designed in 1924 by Elmer Roberts, son of noted architect E.E. Roberts. Last year it was identified by an Oak Park village survey as a potential Oak Park Historic Landmark, and is now eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

With the announced marketing of the Foley Rice dealership earlier this summer, the building’s future is suddenly in question.

“The building has no landmark protection, and while the village has an easement on the building requiring the owner to retain the building as a premium auto dealership until 2012, the owner is seeking to buy out the easement which leaves the building vulnerable to demolition,” the LMI website states.

Wednesday Journal will publish more details as they become available.

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