“The Chicago City Council has approved initial funding for the adaptive reuse of the Armour Institute building at 3300 S Federal Street in Bronzeville. Located on the western end of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) campus, it is commonly known as the main building, or main, by students and used to be the heart of the college in its earlier days as the Armour Institute. The renovation efforts are being co-led by MCM Company and Washington Park Development Group with local architecture firm Pappageorge Haymes working on its design.
“Built in 1893, the Romanesque revival-style structure was designed by Patton & Fisher who also did the neighboring Machinery Hall in 1901. With an original price tag of $500,000, they were funded by Philip D. Armour Sr. whose meatpacking fame is depicted in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and established the Armour Institute in 1890. The architects clad the base with a gray granite with the remainder of the facade utilizing Victorian era red brick and a set of stained-glass windows showing Philip himself.
“Closed in the early 2010s, the massive building has sat vacant with students often breaking in to take a peek at its historical architecture, but now after various approvals it moves closer to being converted into 102 residential units. These would be made up of 93 studios and nine one-bedroom apartments, of which 21 will be considered affordable and all will have access to a fitness center along with a rooftop deck among other amenities. Renovations will include adding a new staircase, repairing windows and exterior elements, and rebuilding the existing boiler.
“The funds approved will help the $37 million project get off the ground, they will come in the form of $2.5 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) approved last year, $14.7 million in loans, $6.3 million in Historic Tax Credits, and an additional $13.3 million in various other smaller sources. With this, the developer can now move towards permitting and construction, although at the moment no formal timeline has been revealed and no applications have been submitted by the developer as well.” (Achong, Chicago YIMBY, 11/13/22)
Preservation Chicago is thrilled that after a long period of uncertainty, this comprehensive restoration and adaptive reuse of Main Building is moving forward. The Illinois Institute of Technology (former Armour Institute) Main Building was a Preservation Chicago 7 Most Endangered in 2017. We worked with IIT towards a good reuse development and have continuously supported this project before the City of Chicago and Commission on Chicago Landmarks.