The Edgewater community once saw long blocks of beautiful lakefront mansions along Sheridan Road. Unfortunately, most of these properties were demolished through the past half century to make way for multi-unit developments. Now, one of the last surviving area mansions is in jeopardy as a new development proposal calls for its demise.
The century-old building at 5356 N. Sheridan has recently been bought by a developer who would like to put a four-story, multi-unit, residential complex on the site. The red brick mansion which was designed by architect Charles Thiesslew, has proudly sat on the southwest corner of balmoral and Sheridan since it was completed in September of 1913.
Through the past century, the building has seen all of its neighboring mansions fall to the wrecking ball. However, a hand full of surviving structures remain. In fact, the Colvin House at 5940 N. Sheridan recently underwent a huge renovation bringing it back to its full glory and proving it still has a fruitful future as a co-working space. The Colvin House savior was that it was landmarked back in 1994, the 5356 N. Sheridan has not yet received that same distinction.
The building, which has housed Wing Hoe Chinese restaurant since 1971, was turned into a commercial building in 1947. It originally housed the famous Joe Stein’s Romanian Steak House which began operation sometime in 1948-1950. After Joe died in 1969, Wing Hoe took over the space and has served the neighborhood for almost a half-century – which is an incredible feat.
It is most likely that the mansions updated role as a commercial property is the reason it has survived so long. But now that Edgewater is a hot real estate market again, developers can make a nice profit with the complex that has been proposed. A huge lot, easy demolition and low selling price can make a structure like the 5356 N. Sheridan mansion vulnerable to developments.
According to the 48th Ward Office, the building is currently under contract and more information on the new owner’s plans will be available after the new year. Wing Hoe restaurant was not available for comment by time of publication.