WIN: Hudson Motor Building To Be Adaptively Reused

Proposed Hudson Motor Building Redevelopment, 2222 S. Michigan Avenue, Rendering Credit: Ware Malcomb

There are plans to renovate the three-story terra cotta Hudson Motor Building, located at 2222 S. Michigan Avenue. Designed by notable Chicago architect Alfred Alschuler in 1922, the building has a wonderfully ornate terra cotta façade include arched windows, twisted columns, decorative cornice, and “H” medallions representing the Hudson Motor Car Company.

Two retired Chicago Bears, defensive ends Israel Idonije and Julius Peppers, are the developers leading the live-work-play styled redevelopment. They purchased the building in January 2018 for $10 million. If plans are approved by the city, construction will begin in late 2018 and be complete by late 2019. Idonije was the developer behind the Workvault coworking space located at 1420 S. Michigan that opened in 2015.

They project will be called FBRK (pronounced “fabric”). According to Idonije, it represents the innovators from tech, nonprofits, sports, lifestyle and the arts he envisions as members who “represent the thread that makes a blanket of Chicago. What we’re trying to build here is a culture.” (Ecker, Crain’s, 5/23/18)

The plan calls for a co-working space with amenities such as restaurants, a rooftop pool, private offices, open workspaces, conference rooms, a gym, and barbershop.

According to Idonije, the design was to allow members “to live together and work together and socialize and get their work done in once space. The notion is ultimately that well-rounded people building well-rounded, balanced companies. (Ecker, Crain’s, 5/23/18)

This would be a significant redevelopment in the Motor Row District since it became a Designated Chicago Landmark District in December 13, 2000. The district includes 55 buildings. This collection of commercial buildings on Chicago’s Near South Side is considered to be the largest, intact early “automobile row” in the country. At its peak, as many as 116 different makes of automobiles were being sold on Motor Row including Ford, Buick, Fiat, and Cadillac, Hudson, Locomobile, Marmon, and Pierce-Arrow.

In December 2015, Richard H. Driehaus purchased the historic former Marmon Motor Car Company Building located at 2232 S. Michigan Avenue to showcase his extensive historic car collection. Preservation Chicago applauds him for his commitment to this Chicago Landmark District. The 38,800 square foot Spanish-revival building was also designed by architect Alfred Alschuler in 1922 is immediately adjacent to the Hudson Motor Building.

LECTURE: In other news related to Chicago’s Historic Motor Row, Second Presbyterian Church is sponsoring Chicago Historian Dennis McClendon’s tour and lecture on the history of Motor Row on Wed, June 20, 2018 at 5:30 pm followed by a reception.  This event is free and registration is requested for the event at this link.

Additional Reading

Former Bears plan co-working, club space on Motor Row, Danny Eckner, Crain’s Chicago Business, 5/23/18

Former Bears players plan coworking space, private club in historic Motor Row building, Jay Koziarz, Curbed Chicago, 5/25/18

Motor Row Historic District, Chicago – Architecture & Cityscape Blog


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