Downtown Office Buildings May Become Grad Student Housing
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Two downtown office buildings that aren’t getting much use may soon have a new life, and young people will be the beneficiaries.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Felicia Middlebrooks reports, a plan calls for converting the Gibbons and Steger buildings, at 20 and 28 E. Jackson Blvd., respectively, into affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments geared toward at graduate students at “Loop University,” according to a Chicago Sun-Times report.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Felicia Middlebrooks reports
“Loop U” is not actually a school, but a section of the Loop where about 65,000 college and graduate students take classes and 20,000 live, the Sun-Times reported. The DePaul University Law School is located across the street from the buildings, and the John Marshall and Loyola University law schools are within walking distance, developer Steve Tinsley pointed out to the Sun-Times.
The 16-story Gibbons Building was completed in 1912. The 19-story Steger Building was completed in 1911, and underwent a renovation in 1992, according to the Chicago Architecture Info site.
Both buildings were designed by the architect Benjamin Marshall, who was also behind the Drake and Blackstone hotels and the South Shore Cultural Center, the Sun-Times reported.
In between the buildings at 22 E. Jackson Blvd. is another narrow structure offset from the sidewalk by an alley known unofficially as Pickwick Place. City records say the building dates from 1892, although some claim it is part of wholesale grocer Henry Horner’s stable and that it survived the Great Chicago Fire.
That building, which historically housed Abson’s English Chop House and a succession of other restaurants, might be converted into a student lounge or meeting room, the Sun-Times reported. The developers’ plans for the buildings call for a connection via some kind of indoor breezeway, the newspaper reported.
Officials with developer DJ Acquisitions LLC tell the Sun-Times they want to landmark the buildings and pick up tax incentives.