WIN: Washington Park National Bank Façade Preservation Redevelopment Plan Receives City Funding (Chicago 7 2016 & 2020)

Washington Park National Bank Building, 1924, Albert Schwartz, 6300 South Cottage Grove, Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers
Washington Park National Bank Building, 1924, Albert Schwartz, 6300 South Cottage Grove, Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers
Washington Park National Bank Building, 6300 South Cottage Grove, Photo Credit: Indiana University Archives

“A long-stalled effort to build high-end offices on the site of the century-old Washington Park National Bank building in Woodlawn has received a multimillion-dollar boost from the city.

“Developer Revive 6300’s project to build more than 60,000 square feet of office space at 6300 S. Cottage Grove Ave. received a $5 million community development grant, city officials announced last week. The development plans also call for a rooftop deck with skyline views, public art installations, ground-floor dining and other retail options. The project is estimated to cost $40 million.

“The development will bring the first new Class A office space to communities south of the University of Chicago in decades, said Leon Walker, managing partner of DL3 Realty.

“The Cook County Land Bank bought the Washington Park National Bank building in 2017. At the time, the building had accumulated about $3.7 million in unpaid taxes over a quarter-century of being empty.

“The land bank approved DL3’s proposal to redevelop the property in 2019. But the parties didn’t close on a sale at the time, and they have spent the past four years grappling with issues like flooding in the existing structure, uncertainty over Opportunity Zone regulations and the pandemic.

“‘We have signed a purchase and sale agreement, and it’s fully executed by the land bank board’ Walker said this week. ‘We have our deposits and were waiting to get some of this city funding in place before closing.’

“The limestone façade on the 99-year-old building will be preserved and renovated, but the rest of the structure will be demolished and rebuilt due to roof, flooding and masonry damage and other issues. The developers previously planned to demolish the entire building.

“The land bank’s 2018 structural assessment report found “the existing framing system of the building is structurally sound, intact, and still in good condition.”

“‘We were able to adapt the development plan so that it preserves what the community saw as an attractive — though it’s not historic — but an attractive structure for many,’ Walker said. ‘They wanted to have that preserved, and we were able to do that.’ (Evans, Block Club Chicago, 2/16/23)

Preservation Chicago is thrilled by this successful outcome. We have long urged DL3 Real Estate, the Cook County Land Bank Authority and other stakeholders to preserve and reuse this historic building. The Washington Park National Bank Building is an important neighborhood anchor on a commercial corridor that has seen the tragic loss of many important buildings. It is essential for the long-term reinvestment and prosperity of this commercial district that this historic building be preserved and redeveloped. The building is linked to the Chicago Race Riots of 1919 and is one of the few structures still standing which witnessed this tragic event on the long march towards equality and social justice.

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