THREATENED: 209-227 S. State Street Listed For Sale and New Construction

“A big, empty building on State Street in the Loop is hitting the market again, a property that could attract interest from developers that want to tear it down and build a high-rise in its place.
“The Sterling Organization, the owner of the 112,000-square-foot building at 209-227 S. State St., has hired Chicago brokerage Greenstone Partners to sell the property, the home of a Woolworth’s store for many years. The building has been vacant since Foot Locker closed its store there in 2020.
“Not surprisingly, Greenstone plans to market the property as a redevelopment candidate, accentuating its size and generous zoning that could accommodate a tall building on the site. A new apartment building would be the most obvious option for the property, given the strength of the downtown multifamily market.
“‘There are so many different ways you can cut it from a development standpoint,’ said Greenstone CEO and Managing Partner Danny Spitz. ‘It’s very rare to find something like this on State Street.’
“Demolishing or repurposing the existing building to create something new also makes sense given State Street’s current retail struggles.
“Apartments make a ton of sense (for Sterling’s property), whether it’s adaptive re-use or ground-up,” Spitz said.
“The existing building, which rises as high as seven stories on its north end, sits on a 20,300-square-foot parcel with current zoning that could accommodate a project as large as 325,000 square feet, according to Greenstone. A developer also could seek a zoning change that would allow for a larger building on the property.
“A developer also could preserve and reuse the existing art deco building, which is about 100 years old, according to Spitz. The property is not a landmark or included on the city’s list of historically significant buildings.
“Should the city step in to save it? Chicago preservationist Ward Miller isn’t ready to take a stand on that question.
“‘This is a nice example of a fine-quality building that should be preserved,’ said Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago, an advocacy group. ‘Is it landmark quality? I think we’d have to look into it further.’
“Miller is more focused on saving two historic structures directly across the street: the Century and Consumers buildings, which the federal government wants to tear down to create a security perimeter around the federal courthouse complex next door. In July, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks asked city staffers to prepare a report on the buildings, a possible first step toward a landmark designation that would block the demolition plans.” (Gallun, Crain’s Chicago Business, 8/29/22)

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