While the one-story medical office building at Ridgeland and Chicago avenues could disappear tomorrow and not be missed, the commonly referred to “Pieritz Bros. building” at Ridgeland and South Boulevard is a treasure that deserves to be preserved.

Right now there is a public plan, not entirely well received by neighbors, by new owners to construct a five-story apartment house at Chicago and Ridgeland. Down the street at the Pieritz site there is currently a new owner and nothing but murkiness about what comes next.

That unnamed owner has hired John Schiess, a local architect and development whisperer, to try and smooth the way. Lately Schiess has been having conversations with the preservation-minded in Oak Park but is pointedly not talking to Wednesday Journal. In response to a story this week about One Stop Comics, a longtime tenant in the building, being told he has to move out because the building may be demolished, Schiess issued to us this weak-tea statement: “While we are open for discussions about possible development at 401 South Blvd., our plans are in the feasibility stage and many options are on the table. It is premature, at this time, to have meaningful discussions until we move forward with possible development options.”

It is clear that sitting across the street from the Green Line, the new owner is going to want, and need, greater density for some sort of housing on the site. Also clear that the future of retail at that corner has passed.

Also past is the time frame for this awkward mix of private conversations and public stonewalling on a corner with genuine public interest.

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