A century-old brick building just north of Humboldt Park’s namesake park will soon be torn down to make way for a modern apartment building. This is unwelcome news to some local preservationists who argue the building that used to be the home of family-owned manufacturer Carbit Paints should be saved.

The project calls for replacing the two-story structure at 2942 W. North Ave. with a six-story building offering 40 apartments, ground-floor retail, 17 underground parking spaces and 23 parking spaces in back, according to Raymond Valadez, Ald. Joe Moreno’s chief of staff.

Humboldt Park drawing

Drawing of what the new apartment complex will look like, supplied by Ald. Joe Moreno’s office.

Demolition plans for Humboldt Park structure

Logan Square-based realty company Wilmot Properties is behind the project. The developer currently owns the ivy-covered building, which was built sometime around the 1910s, according to Cook County property records.

Valadez said Ald. Moreno supports the project, which does not require a zoning change. Demolition is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018 much to the dismay of local preservationists like Andrew Schneider, president of Logan Square Preservation.

“Why should we demolish an existing building with a great amount of character when there’s vacant land less than a block away?” asked Schneider, whose nonprofit community organization is dedicated to preserving historic structures in neighboring Logan Square.

Though the building is not designated a city landmark, it is deemed historically significant by the National Register of Historic Places. The agency lists it as a ‘contributing building’ in the Chicago Park Boulevard System Historic District. Contributing buildings add to the significance of historic districts, but aren’t so significant that demolition is restricted.

Valadez said he was not aware that the building was listed as such until a Sun-Times reporter notified him of the designation. When asked if the designation would impact the alderman’s support, Valadez said, “Perhaps,” adding that he is planning to confer with the city’s Landmarks Department. Wilmot Properties did not return calls for comment.

History of old Carbit Paints building

Founded in 1925 by Lester Westerman, Carbit Paints manufactured and sold paint out of the building at 2942 W. North Ave. from 1942 to 1955, when it moved to its current location along the Chicago River at 927 W. Blackhawk St., according to vice president David Westerman Sr. But Carbit continued to use the Humboldt Park building as a wholesale factory outlet until 2015, he said.

With its original red brick, arched windows and tile roof, the North Avenue building is a “beautiful example of the craftsman buildings all around Humboldt Park,” Schneider said.

“We’re not going to see that kind of labor and care put into a new building on the site. Period,” Schneider said. “Those techniques are lost. They’re either too expensive or no one’s around the table fighting to [incorporate] them.”

Early architectural drawings show a boxy, modern building made with dark brick.