WIN: Former Chicago & North Western Railway Company Building Goes Residential

The residential conversion is underway for the 14-story City Colleges of Chicago Headquarter/ former Chicago & North Western Railway Company building located at 226 W. Jackson Boulevard and Franklin Street. The historic building was built in 1904 as the headquarters for the Chicago & North Western Railway Company, which occupied the entire building, and was designed by architects Frost and Granger. This firm later designed the Chicago & North Western Power House Building in 1909, now a Chicago Landmark, and also the grand Chicago & North Western Train Station from 1911, demolished in 1984 after a lengthy and unsuccessful preservation campaign.

According to City College officials, the developer is Indianapolis-based Zidan Management Group which is planning to convert the office building to residential apartments. They were the high bidder of 14 offers, and agreed to purchase the 185,000 square foot building from City Colleges for $34.5 million.

Despite the heavy limestone base, columns flanking the entry, and the classically-styled ornamental terra cotta, the building is not a Designated Chicago Landmark. It is unclear if the restoration will meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, as determined by the National Park Service, in order to qualify for the valuable Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits. Preservation Chicago encourages the developer to pursue a Chicago Landmark Designation for this historic Chicago building. Additionally, Preservation Chicago encourages the developer to rebuild the lost historic cornice as part of the development and restoration plan.

Zidan Management Group has been active in Chicago and converted the building at 5009 N. Sheridan Road into Somerset Place Apartments and converted the building at 2231 E. 67th Street in South Shore into a rental building called Shoreline Apartments. Shoreline Apartments was added to the National Register of Historic Places in January 2018.

This continues the trend of historic loop office buildings being converted to a residential or hospitality uses. Preservation Chicago hopes that Zidan Management Group will follow the lead of outstanding preservation-oriented developers such as Cedar Street Companies, Marc Realty, and CA Ventures which have recognized the inherent value of historic buildings and have the sophistication to leverage valuable historic credits and the other incentives available.

Additional Reading

City Colleges headquarters to be sold, converted to apartments, Ryan Ori, Chicago Tribune, 1/9/18

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