16. WIN: Art Deco Lawson House YMCA to be Fully Renovated

The 23-story Art Deco Lawson House former YMCA Building at 30 W. Chicago Avenue will be fully overhauled into 400 affordable apartments. Completed in 1934, Lawson House YMCA was designed by Perkins, Chatten & Hammond. Since 2013, when the YMCA moved their headquarters from Lawson house the Near West Side, there has been some uncertainty over the future of this important Chicago Avenue skyscraper.

The proposal by affordable housing developer Peter Holstein’s was selected by the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago in 2013. They agreed to sell the building for $1 with a guarantee that the developer would engage in a comprehensive renovation, estimated at $100 million, and maintain affordability for 50 years.

The building’s Art Deco historic elements will largely be preserved. The exterior fire escapes will be replaced with a pair of enclosed stair towers. The alley on the building’s north side will be landscaped and another entrance added. Existing office and commercial spaces within the building are expected to remain.

Preservation Chicago hopes that the intact historic art deco lobby and interior circulation spaces will be preserved and restored as part of the building renovation. Additionally, we think that Lawson House would make a great candidate for a Chicago Landmark, which would both protect this great building and provide significant tax credit benefits to the development.

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