St. Michael Catholic Church in downtown Wheaton plans to add parking to ease demand around the West Street parish.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet has purchased properties north of the church across Willow Avenue, just east of the St. Michael Faith Center. One of the parcels contains a two-story building that housed a longtime hair and nails salon and second-floor apartments at 216 S. Wheaton Avenue.
On the other parcel at the northwest corner of Wheaton and Willow avenues is a two-story building that held the old Second Hand Rose, a consignment store that moved downtown.
The intention of the purchase is to demolish the buildings and to construct a new parking lot to alleviate some parking concerns at the church, diocese spokesman Alex Rechenmacher said in an email.
"At this very early stage, we can only estimate a completion timeline, but right now we are looking at completing the project sometime in the spring," Rechenmacher said.
On-site parking spots are often at a premium for parishioners of the church, which has a seating capacity of about 1,050. The parish school also serves students in preschool through eighth grade.
The new St. Michael opened in 2006 four years after a devastating arson fire destroyed the old church.
The properties envisioned for the parking expansion are legally titled to the diocese, but the parish will manage the lot.