WIN: City of Chicago Announces $150M Funding for the Residential Adaptive Reuse of Four LaSalle Street Skyscrapers

Continental and Commercial National Bank, 1914, Daniel Burnham, 208 S. LaSalle Street. Image credit: Lamar Johnson Collaborative
Rector Building / Chicago Trust Building / Chicago Title and Trust Building / Bell Federal Savings & Loan Building, Jarvis Hunt in 1906 with later modifications to the uppermost floors, cornice, fascia, and base of the building by Holabird & Roche to the south in 1924, 79 W. Monroe Street. Photo credit: Loopnet

“Mayor Brandon Johnson on Wednesday earmarked $151.2 million in taxpayer money to help subsidize four proposals to breathe new life into Chicago’s Financial District by transforming it into Chicago’s newest residential neighborhood, advancing a plan to ‘reimagine’ Chicago’s Loop launched by former Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

“The four proposals would invest a combined $520.2 million in the city’s central business district to build approximately 1,000 apartments in what is now mostly empty office space, including 300 units set aside for low- and moderate-income Chicagoans as part of an effort to reduce segregation in Chicago and chip away at the city’s shortage of affordable homes, officials said.

“Like many cities, we are in the process of recovering from the impact of the pandemic, resulting in vacancies, particularly our storefronts and offices,” Mayor Johnson said, announcing the plan in the lobby of 208 S. LaSalle St., one of the buildings set to be transformed. ‘Additionally, evolving conditions in workplaces and retail are changing what it means to be a shopper and a worker. We have to respond to these changes. As a city, we have to do it in a creative and collaborative way.’

“In addition, Alds. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) and Bill Conway (34th Ward) repeatedly said they were worried that Johnson would scrap the plan to rethink the financial district. Although both are frequent critics of the mayor, they attended Wednesday’s announcement — but were not seated on the dais alongside the mayor.

“Two additional proposals, at 135 S. LaSalle St. and 105 W. Adams St., are under consideration for additional subsidies, with Johnson telling the enthusiastic crowd to ‘stay tuned.’ Lightfoot had picked the redevelopment at 135 S. LaSalle St. to advance.

“In all, city officials received nine proposals in December 2022 not only to build new apartments where cubicle dwellers once worked but also to transform building lobbies into spaces for “cultural or entertainment purposes” and vacant storefronts into grocery stores and restaurants. One proposal was rejected, another application was withdrawn, and two others were deemed ineligible or incomplete, city records show.

“While the number of people living downtown has doubled since 2000, that growth has bypassed LaSalle Street, where many of the historic buildings were built during a bygone era and are beloved but little used historic landmarks. (Cherone, WTTW Chicago, 4/3/24)

“The proposals advancing to the City Council for consideration are:

111 W. Monroe St., where Prime/Capri Interests, LLC wants to spend $203 million to build 345 apartments, including 105 affordable units, as part of a development that would include a 228-room hotel. The project has requested a $40 million subsidy.
$2.09 million for terra cotta repairs and window and door replacement; part of a $16.3 million restoration of a vacant, 1928 bank for commercial uses.
208 S. LaSalle St., where the Prime Group wants to spend $123 million to build 226 apartments, including 84 affordable units, sandwiched between two hotels. The project has requested a $26.2 million subsidy.
$1.3 million to preserve a 112-year-old bank building as part of a $53 million adaptive re-use as a hotel and retail space.
79 W. Monroe St., where the Campari Group wants to spend $64.2 million to build 117 apartments, including 41 affordable units. The project has requested a $28 million subsidy, which also calls for the restoration of the color-changing “Weather Bell” sign that signals temperature changes.
30 N. LaSalle St., where Golub & Co. wants to spend $130 million to create 349 units, with 105 affordable. The original proposal included ground-floor retail, as well as green space and seating on streets bordering the property. The project has requested a $57 million subsidy.

“Miller applauded Mayor Brandon Johnson and Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Ciere Boatright on Wednesday’s La Salle Street announcement. Johnson announced four projects in the corridor that he will put forward for a combined $151.2 million in TIF assistance this spring. The projects would help convert office buildings into much-needed housing in the Loop.

“Miller said many of those buildings Johnson announced haven’t been landmarked — like 111 W. Monroe St. — and will soon undergo the landmark designation process.

“These are great strides forward,’ he said.” (Miller, Chicago Sun-Times, 4/4/24)

Read the full story at WTTW Chicago and Chicago Sun-Times

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