With a 30-day median sale price of $435,000, Logan Square is quickly catching up with the high-end housing markets in nearby Wicker Park and Lincoln Park ($575,000 and $545,000 median sale price respectively). But perhaps the most coveted homes in Logan Square are the historic mansions lining the neighborhood's boulevards. These buildings, typically clad in distinctive Bedford limestone, often sell for well over $1 million.
Now, one of Logan Square's most unique boulevard mansions is for sale. The old structure at 2414 North Kedzie Boulevard, long owned and occupied by Kriya Yoga, listed this month for $1.25 million.
Originally built in 1910, the mansion previously belonged to the Normennenes Singing Society, a Norwegian men's choir, which used it for events and gatherings. The property last exchanged hands in 1979, when Kriya Yoga moved in, according to president and board chairman Jim Chase.
“The organization actually started in 1961 and for a time was based in the Sheraton Hotel Building on Michigan Avenue,” Chase says. “There was no yoga in Chicago at that time, so it was really the first yoga center.”
In the early days of Kriya, yoga was viewed as a spiritual exercise as much as a physical one. But in the age of storefront yoga studios (and their ascendance in wealthy residential pockets), Chase suggests some have forgotten the roots of the discipline.
“A lot of people think it’s just teaching postures, but it’s more than that,” he says. “It’s a spiritual direction for changing your life to reach the divine that’s inside everybody. Unfortunately in this country, it’s become just an exercise.”
By the mid to late ‘70s, Kriya Yoga, led by Goswami Kriyananda, had built up enough of a following to move into its own space, says Chase. It just so happened that the Kedzie Boulevard mansion, outfitted with a spacious auditorium, full bar, kitchen, and other gathering spaces, was available. The original residential spaces from the second floor up remain more or less intact, Chase adds.
The property on Kedzie presents an opportunity for both a residential homebuyer or a developer looking to go condo, says @properties agent Sam Marconi. With more than 10,000 square feet of living space set on a 50 by 200–foot lot, the listing may appeal to a high-end buyer looking for a classical home near the square. And while the mansion sits along a landmark district, the property is not protected due to its religious designation, meaning that the large lot could draw a developer who sees an opportunity in demolition.
However, both Chase and Marconi see the structure as ripe for adaptive reuse, particularly in a community that values its historic housing stock. And as for Kriya Yoga, the organization will continue on in a smaller space, says Chase.
“I love Logan Square and we would have loved to have stayed in Logan, but we’re not going to be able to [make it work] in that big of a building.”
While Kriya Yoga has had thousands of followers over the decades, the organization currently has only about 150 active members in Chicago, Chase says, suggesting that as Kriyananda aged, so did his followers. Still, the group continues to add to his catalog of online lectures in an effort to draw new members.