Gold Coast Columbarium Dies

Developer vows to take idea elsewhere in Chicago

By Andrew Greiner
|  Monday, Nov 30, 2009  |  Updated 12:45 PM CDT
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A plan to house the ashes of more than 15,000 people in an abandoned Gold Coast is dead.

The development group that wanted to convert the former Three Arts Club at 1300 N. Dearborn Parkway into a columbarium gave into pressure from neighborhood residents who felt uneasy about having the unconventional cemetery so near their homes and scrapped the idea.

“Upon further review of the building, site and neighborhood context, we have decided not to proceed with the purchase of the Three Arts Club building,” Bill Bickford of Depree Bickford Associates LLC wrote in a three-paragraph letter addressed to Gold Coast residents, according to Crain’s.

"The project is designed to be an elegant institution for a community, not one to cause unrest — so we are taking the concept elsewhere in Chicago," Bickford wrote.

He gave no indication of where “elsewhere in Chicago” could be.

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