WIN: Warehouse Loft Across from Lincoln Yards Adaptively Reused

2065 N. Southport Avenue. Pre-Construction Condition. Photo Credit: CoStar
Lofts at Southport, 2065 N. Southport Avenue. Rendering Credit: GREC Architects

2065 N. Southport Avenue is a 4-story brick and timber industrial loft warehouse built in 1915. The 90,000 square foot building is being redeveloped into the Lofts at Southport which will include both loft-style offices and apartments. Offices will be located on the lower two floors and 56 rental apartments will located on the upper two floors. Ceiling heights range from 12 to 16 feet.

The Lofts at Southport development team is a joint venture between Iowa-based Heart of America Group and local developers Jon Morgan and Matt Ferrino with architectural design by GREC Architects. The project is scheduled for completion in June 2019. A previous office conversion of the building was proposed by Shapack Partners in 2016.

The building is located across the street from the now demolished former A. Finkl & Sons’ campus and the future Lincoln Yards development. The Chicago City Council’s 2017 comprehensive rezoning of the North Branch Corridor has allowed the adaptive reuse of historic industrial and commercial buildings such as this into residential uses.

Preservation Chicago applauds the adaptive reuse of historic loft buildings and would like to encourage preservation-oriented developers such as Jon Morgan, Matt Ferrino, and Heart of America Group to consider the adaptive reuse of other historic loft buildings with in this district. With massive changes underway within this former industrial corridor, it’s essential that the City of Chicago and preservation-oriented developers move quickly to protect architecturally significant buildings.

The City of Chicago has created a list of 70 architecturally significant buildings along the North Branch Industrial Corridor that could be threatened by new development. These buildings need to be preserved in order to maintain a connection to the corridor’s history, to ensure “quality of life issues,” and to promote healthy communities. However, the steps must be taken as quickly as possible, as one of the historic buildings identified on the list, 1666 N. Ada, has already been demolished.

Preservation Chicago encourages Chicago Department of Planning and Development Historic Preservation Division/Landmarks to include the designation of these buildings as Chicago Landmarks along with open space and parklands as part of the on-going discussions and master planning for the North Branch Corridor area. Preservation Chicago is actively working with stakeholders and is an official member of the North Branch Park Preserve Coalition.

Many of these 70 identified buildings are in fact highly significant industrial buildings, designed by noteworthy architectural firms and individuals. The following highlights represent just a small sampling of the architects and buildings noted in the list.

The Adler & Sullivan Architects/ Louis Sullivan-designed structures at 1440 N. Kingsbury Street Complex/Carbit Paints, originally constructed as the Euston & Company Linseed Oil Plant in 1899 and the Chicago Linoleum Company Plant in 1903 as the plant of the Carbit Paint Company. Located at 2013 N. Elston is the Horween Leather Company complex, originally the Herman Loescher Leather Tannery. The architect of Horween needs to be definitively confirmed, but in past research the taller structure, with a decorative cornice and angled facade elevation suggest a strong connection to Adler & Sullivan.

The 2001 N. Elston Avenue complex, now known as the “Self-Storage Building” was designed by Simeon Eisendrath, for the Eisendrath Leather and Glove Company. Eisendrath worked in the Adler & Sullivan firm and designed the Chicago Landmark “Plymouth Building” on South Dearborn Street. The Plymouth Court side of the building still has its original cast “Sullivanesque” foliated ornament, by the Winslow Brothers Company, who worked with Louis Sullivan on the Carson Pirie Scott Store cast iron ornament.

The Schoenhofen Brewery Building/SiPi Metal Corp Site is located at 1700 N. Elston Avenue and was designed by Louis Lehle, the famous brewery architect. A thematic Chicago Landmark “Tannery District” of buildings and another protected district tied to beer brewing and manufacturing could protect many of these significant buildings.

Additional Reading
Apartments, offices head to 100-year-old building next to Lincoln Yards, Anticipating a construction boom across the street, the adaptive reuse project is racing toward a summer completion date, Jay Koziarz, Curbed Chicago, 11/28/18

Chicago City Council approves sweeping North Branch zoning ordinance; One of the largest zoning changes in recent history, the move will transform the Chicago River north of downtown, Jay Koziarz Curbed Chicago, 7/27/17


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