Our Lady of Angels building in Joliet is coming down

Future of site yet to be determined

Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home in Joliet has not had any cases of COVID-19. Administrator Judy Hoffman said OLA has taken extra steps to ensure the safety of residents and staff.

The Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home building will be torn down with the future use of the Joliet property still to be determined.

But Joliet Catholic Academy, which borders the site, has a right to first refusal on the land, said Sister Jeanne Bessette, president of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate.

The Joliet-based order of nuns founded both the nursing home, which closed earlier this year, and St. Francis Academy, which later became Joliet Catholic Academy. The religious order still owns the JCA land and building, Bessette said.

“They (JCA) are the closest adjacent property,” she said Monday. “They’re part of our mission.”

Joliet Catholic Academy, 1200 N. Larkin Avenue, Joliet.

Bessette said she hopes the demolition will occur this year but has not yet signed a contract with a demolition and asbestos removal company.

“This is not a surprise,” she said of the demolition. “We knew the building was not really worth investing money in because of its age and systems not working anymore.”

The nursing home opened in 1962 at 1201 Wyoming Ave. The last residents moved out in late January.

“We did not put the building up for sale,” Bessette said. “There was never an intent to continue to operate it as a nursing home.”

The site itself has not been listed for sale either.

“We are not going out looking for a buyer,” Bessette said.

More than 14 days ago, Our Lady of Angels in Joliet had one employee test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

The nursing home has been nearly emptied through estate sales over the past several months. But there are still pews and lighting in the nursing home chapel that Bessette said would be sold if any buyers are interested.

“We have 94 two-person pews in the chapel, and we have beautiful, mid-century light fixtures hanging from the ceiling,” she said.

The Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate also owns the The Villages at Our Lady of Angels, a senior independent living community that also is adjacent to the nursing home property.