Mayor Lightfoot announces finalists for plans to turn La Salle Street office space into housing

Jessica D'Onofrio Image
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Winning proposals announced to convert office space to housing on La Salle Street
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The re-awakening of La Salle Street post-pandemic took a big step forward Tuesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- La Salle Street is a vital economic corridor, but it has suffered in recent years.

Tuesday morning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled her plan to revitalize it with some city subsidies.

In her last few weeks in office, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced three finalists have been chosen to create more than one-thousand mixed income units in the Loop corridor to address downtown vacancies and affordable housing.

"We will be the envy of the nation and people will once again come to Chicago as they have throughout these last four years and say, 'How did you do that?'" Lightfoot said.

The three buildings chosen for conversion include:

-111 West Monroe Street, which will be converted to housing with a hotel on lower floors.

-208 South La Salle would build 280 units with a dog run, fitness center and tenant lounge.

-135 South La Salle would turn some office floors into 430 residences.

"Providing those housing opportunities will be key in our mission to re-imagine La Salle Street as a mixed income, mixed use community as well as our mission to restore equity downtown."

Representing nearly 320 affordable units, and more than $550 million in total investments, the finalists were selected from nine developer responses to the city's invitation for proposals to re-purpose a portion of La Salle Street's five million square feet of vacant commercial space as mixed income housing.

"Chicago is the only city in the country that has fashioned this conversion effort in such an equitable and innovative way, so I'm thrilled that we're leading," Chicago Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox said.

The 318 affordable housing units the plan would be offered to tenants earning an average of 60 percent of the area median income or a little over $50,000 for a two-person household.

"That's 318 households that could not otherwise walk to work in the Loop, 318 houses holds who could say yes to a job offer who might otherwise have said no because the commuter seemed impossible," Chicago Department of Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara said.

The city plans to contribute millions of dollars in tax increment financing as potential subsidies. But the plans still need to be approved by City Council.