St. Louis, MO – The historic Dental Professional Building at 2358 North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood may no longer exist, but through the expertise of Western Specialty Contractors – Chicago Masonry branch, its façade is still visible today as a significant element of the new Lincoln Common mixed-use development Lincoln Avenue street wall.

As part of the new Lincoln Common project, the façade from this building was dismantled, catalogued and palletized for incorporation into a new building. The previous building had been categorized as having an “Orange-rated” status, meaning that it potentially possessed architectural features that make it significant within the surrounding Chicago community. Working in concert with the city’s Landmarks Division, the project architect, Antunovich Associates, designed and documented a façade retention strategy.

“In order to preserve and incorporate the architectural significance of the 1890s-vintage neighborhood commercial building, Western was given the unique opportunity to reconstruct the historic façade on a new building,” said Adam Gdowski, Chicago Masonry project manager.

Western’s master masons began the project by carefully deconstructing the historic building’s entire masonry exterior – brick, limestone and terra cotta – along with the decorative steel cornice that would later be replicated due to the deterioration of the metal. The salvaged materials were then carefully cleaned and meticulously cataloged on site, leaving the brick masonry backup in place for later demolition.

All of the façade pieces were carefully documented and left on site in custom-built crates until the new structure was built. The rebuilding process consisted of a Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) backup with installation of the terra cotta masonry units at the lower level in their original locations. The remaining two levels were rebuilt with the salvaged masonry brick. Historical lime putty mortar was used for the brick locations to match the narrow mortar joints of the original structure. All the detailed brick areas were meticulously reinstalled in their original locations in the new facade, along with the limestone sills and arches.

Once the masonry work was completed, Western replicated and installed new decorative metal cornices. Later, the windows, doors and storefront materials were installed by others. As a finished project, the elegance of the historic facade embellishes the new building, which hosts office and retail tenants.

The project, which required 15 months of work, was completed on budget. The general contractor on the project was W.E. O’Neil Construction and the architect was Antunovich Associates, both Chicago-based firms.

“Western Specialty Contractors rose to the challenge of dismantling and reconstructing the Orange-rated façade at 2358 N. Lincoln Ave. as part of the overall Lincoln Common development,” said Clark C. Christensen, Associate Principal at Antunovich Associates. “Throughout the entire process, it was a pleasure collaborating with Western’s master masons on this signature façade project.”

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