5. WIN: A Bright Future for Century and Consumers Buildings (Chicago 7 2011 and 2013)

After many years of uncertainly and vacancy, the historically-sensitive adaptive reuse of the Century and Consumers Buildings on South State Street is moving forward. CA Ventures’ proposal with Chicago architecture firm Antunovich Associates was selected by the City of Chicago after an RFP was issued in March. A $141 million renovation is planned for the four building cluster, including two historic towers and two adjacent low-rise buildings. The plan will restore and adaptively reuse the tall terra cotta office buildings as residential apartments with retail along the State Street frontage.

Preservation Chicago has been highly concerned about the deferred maintenance and deteriorating condition of these buildings and they twice made the Chicago 7 Most Endangered list, in 2011 and again in 2013. Preservation Chicago was delighted by the selection of the CA Ventures in partnership with Cedar Street Companies. Years earlier, Ward Miller had promoted and suggested the site with the selected developer and encouraged them to consider the possibility of an adaptive reuse project, as that same development team had successfully completed the nearby restoration of the Steger and Gibbons Building complex by architects Marshall and Fox.

Originally, these proud and elegant buildings were part of a thriving and vibrant State Street Retail District. The 16-story Century Building at 202 S. State Street was designed by Holabird and Roche in 1915. The 22-story Consumers Building at 220 S. State Street/1 W. Quincy Court was designed by Jenny, Mundie & Jensen in 1913. Preservation Chicago hopes that the State Street and Quincy elevations of the Consumers Building will be restored to include original rooflines, frieze band, fascia, and cornice, along with the store fronts and lobby.

Another, smaller building dating from 1886 and located at 214 S. State Street will have its historic façade restored. The streamlined, high-style Art-Moderne storefront at 214 S. State with its black vitrolite, colored terrazzo, silver banding, and exuberant circular glass window display is highly intact and a rare survivor from State Street’s rich history. Preservation Chicago hopes that particular care and sensitivity will be taken to protect and restore this highly significant element.
Preservation Chicago wishes to applaud the City of Chicago for issuing the RFP and Alderman Reilly for his strong commitment to preservation and for his leadership in helping to bring about a preservation sensitive outcome.

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