The new HBO documentary Going Clear has put Scientology at the center of the national conversation. The church is huge in Los Angeles, and the notion of the religion being active in Chicago seems alien (pun intended) to most locals.
There is already a Scientology church here, a rundown location in Lakeview with the sign "Hubbard Dianetics Foundation." The church is also in the process of opening another, grander location in Printers Row at 650 S Clark St. The city filed a $2,000 housing complaint against the owners of the location in 2013, which is still making its way through the system. The church is being represented in the matter by local law firm Pedersen & Houpt.
According to the religion's website, the church has acquired dozens of new properties that are projected to open this year, and will "stand as the embodiment of the technology of L. Ron Hubbard, designed to provide the full services of Scientology to its parishioners and to the community."
Scientology's expansion into Chicago is not surprising given that other major cities like New York and London already have Scientology churches. Either way, it's disappointing to see Printers Row, an area that was once the center of publishing in Chicago, turned into an area filled with E-meters, "audits" and Tom Cruise aficionados.