Front of historic Vautravers residential building being relocated

CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Project Moves Historic Vautravers Building, Preserving the Lakeview East National Historic Landmark

August 2, 2021 09:00 AM

CTA to move building to rebuild and straighten 100-year-old track structure north of Belmont Red Line 

The CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Project today begins moving the historic Vautravers residential building located at 947-949 N. Newport Avenue in the Lakeview East neighborhood to preserve the 127-year-old building. The move is necessary to prepare for CTA’s plan to completely reconstruct and straighten century-old Red and Purple Line track structures north of the Belmont station to provide our customers with a smoother, faster commute on modern infrastructure.  

Front of historic Vautravers building being relocated

Before CTA begins rebuilding the track structure, CTA, along with contractors Walsh-Fluor and Wolfe Building and House Movers, will relocate the historic property 30 feet to the west toward N. Clark Street. By moving the building, CTA can remove a curve in the tracks that slows train traffic as part of reconstructing the entire existing track structure. This will increase train speeds and provide a more reliable, comfortable ride for CTA customers. The reconstruction will begin in 2022 and is expected to be completed in 2024. 

Timeline of relocation 

  • April 2021 – Crews removed various historic elements including limestone cladding and Chicago common brick from the façade, and stored these elements to prevent damage during the move. These elements will be reinstalled on the building following the move.  
  • June 2021 – Excavated around the site and complete selective demolition to clear the way for the moving subcontractor, Wolfe.  
  • July 2021 – Installed temporary bracing, jacking systems, roll beams and hydraulic push ram systems to prepare for the move.  
  • August 2021 – The building move is scheduled to begin Aug. 2. It is expected to take 1-2 days to move and adjust the building into the proper location. 
    • Once in its new location, the building will be temporarily secured while crews pour the new concrete foundation around the perimeter and install temporary shoring in the basement.  
    • Once secured on the new foundation, the moving subcontractor will demobilize their equipment, and the building can be restored.  
  • September 2021 – The historic elements will be re-installed onto the building.  

How to watch the move 

  • CTA will host a Facebook Live event that will be promoted on the CTA RPM Facebook page (@CTARPM) (Note: The building will move in very slow increments.) 
  • There will be small “Watch Party” spaces located at the corner of W. Newport Avenue and N Clark Street. 

CTA and contractor Walsh-Fluor will begin reconstruction of the Red and Purple Line track structures after the completion of the Vautravers move and the completion of the Red-Purple Bypass that is now under construction near Belmont and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. The bypass and the new Red and Purple Line tracks will improve service for Red, Brown and Purple Line customers. RPM Phase One is expected to fully completed in 2025. 

Vautravers building history with CTA 

The building was constructed between 1891 and 1894, and was originally owned by the Vautravers family. Part of the historic Newport Avenue District, a series of homes built between 1891 and 1928, the building sat in the pathway for the original construction of the CTA Red Line. When the Red Line was built in the early 1900s, the owner of the Vautravers building refused to sell the property. As a result, the track and structure were constructed around the building. The existing bend in the tracks limits train speeds through the corridor between Belmont and Addison, slowing down the entire CTA system. Relocating the building and straightening out the new track structure will allow increased train speeds and faster service in the area, and improving customer experience on all CTA rides.  

All analyses of the feasibility of moving the Vautravers building have been done in close coordination with CTA, the Federal Transit Administration, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the Historic Preservation Division of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development.  

RPM Phase One Overview  

RPM Phase One Project includes three major components: 

  • Reconstruction of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations into larger, 100 percent accessible stations; and replacement of track structure totaling six track-miles that is a century old.  
  • New Red-Purple Bypass construction (expected completion in 2021); followed by the reconstruction of Red and Purple Line track structure between Belmont and Newport/Cornelia (expected completion by the end of 2024). 
  • Installation of a new signal system on 23 track miles between Howard and Belmont that, similar to roadway traffic signals, will improve train flow and service reliability. 

The Red Line and RPM 

The CTA’s Red Line is CTA’s busiest rail line, providing more than 67 million rides a year and serving some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in U.S. The RPM Program, which will be done in multiple phases, will rebuild the 9.6-mile stretch of Red and Purple Line track structure and stations on the North Side that are a century old. RPM will replace aging infrastructure; increase CTA’s capacity to increase train service as needed; and improve our service for customers with more reliable, comfortable service. Future phases of RPM have not yet been announced and are currently unfunded. Learn more about RPM online at transitchicago.com/RPM and sign up for project alerts at  transitchicago.com/RPMalerts

For more information about the RPM project, visit transitchicago.com/RPM. To sign up for project alerts, visit transitchicago.com/rpm/alerts. 

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