“The Commission on Chicago Landmarks has approved the final certification for tax incentives for the Chicago & North Western Railway Office Building at 226 W Jackson Boulevard in the heart of downtown The Loop. The historical building recently went through a full rehab converting it into a dual-flag Hilton hotel, located on the corner of Jackson Boulevard and S Franklin Street. The approval grants the project a Class L Property Tax Incentive which will provide it with tax breaks for the next 12 years.
“The 14-story Classical Revival-style building was erected in 1905 and designed by local architects Frost & Granger who also designed multiple stations for the namesake train line that occupied the building until 1929. At its peak the rail company operated over 10,000 miles of track across seven different states, greatly contributing to Chicago’s industrial economy. The building itself is clad in light-gray granite utilizing its vertical and spandrel elements to mimic the triple divisions of a classical column with a base, shaft, and ornate capital, while also using Doric-style columns to accentuate the main entrance.
“The approved tax incentive will reduce the property taxes by 10 percent for the first 10 years, 15 percent in year 11, and 20 percent in year 12, before returning to the regular rates in year 13. The incentive was successfully used to lure the hotel redevelopment and preservation of the historical structure after a failed attempt in 2018 to convert the building into a residential project.” (Achong, Chicago Yimby, 4/11/22)
“In addition to its important role in Chicago’s economic heritage, the C&NW Railway Office Building is an excellent example of the Classical Revival style in the Loop. The high-rise headquarters building is clad with light-grey granite and reflects the tripartite division of a Classical column with a base, shaft, and capital divided by ornate projecting belt courses. Its entrance is highlighted by two large fluted granite Doric columns. The formal elegance and ancient Greek origins of the headquarters’ architectural style, designed by the significant Chicago firm of Frost and Granger, communicated the stability and prominence of the railroad company.” (Landmark Designation Report, 11/19)
Preservation Chicago applauds Phoenix Development Partners for pursuing the Chicago Landmark Designation. We fully support this development and played an active role throughout the landmark and Class L process. The C&NW Railway Office Building’s history and design made it a strong candidate to become a Designated Chicago Landmark.
Additionally, Preservation Chicago encourages the developer to rebuild the lost historic cornice as part of future improvements. The cost for cornice rebuilding is significant and Preservation Chicago encourages the City of Chicago to adjust existing codes to make cornice rebuilding more attainable. Further, we recommend additional incentives be made available to Designated Chicago Landmarks to encourage cornice restoration and reconstruction.
Hotel redevelopment of premier railroad company headquarters seeks landmark status; Designed in 1904, the historic building housed headquarters for Chicago & North Western Railway, Ryan Smith, Curbed Chicago, 11/8/19
Former City Colleges HQ to become dual-brand Hilton; A local developer is turning the historic building across from Willis Tower into a hotel after another group’s plan to redevelop it into apartments fell through, Danny Ecker, Crain’s Chicago Business, 10/1/19