Credit Worthy News

Four Outstanding Chicago Rehabs Receive Awards

Posted by MacRostie Historic Advisors on Monday, June 22, 2015

We are pleased to announce that four of our projects from the MHA Midwest office were selected as recipients of prestigious Chicago preservation awards last week. All of these projects utilized the federal historic tax credit as well as city-offered programs to make their rehabilitations a reality.

Without further ado, the winners are...


Hampton Inn at the Chicago Motor Club

Chicago Art Deco Society | 2015 Joseph Loundy Preservation Award

CAC LobbyOn Thursday, June 18, we, along with other members of the project team, including owners MB Real Estate, were awarded Chicago Art Deco Society's first-ever Joseph Loundy Preservation Award. Named for the former president of the Society, this award commends the restoration work undertaken to preserve one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in Chicago.

The Chicago Motor Club was built in 1928 at 68 E. Wacker Place, and was an early automobile clubhouse for motorists in the Windy City who could find road maps and travel maps in this pre-AAA era. Standing 15 stories tall, notable exterior features of the building include it's slender footprint, limestone, terra-cotta bas relief panels, a steel frame awning with glass panels that allow you to see enjoy the fast moving lines of the automobile temple when standing at the base of the building, and the iconic Chicago Motor Club circular emblem of the letter "C" surrounding a red star. Inside, the lobby features an original 29 foot, two-story United States road map mural created by artist John Warner Norton, more bas relief detail, green and black terrazzo floors, and shimmering silver accents throughout.

The federal historic rehabilitation tax credit and the Chicago Class L Property Tax Reduction Incentive were used for this project.


The Old Dearborn Bank Building / Virgin Hotel

Commission of Chicago Landmarks | 2015 Chicago Landmark Award for Preservation Excellence

Virgin ElevatorsThe Chicago Landmark Award for Preservation Excellence is given to individual Chicago Landmarks or to buildings within Chicago Landmark Districts. The Old Dearborn Bank Building, now the first Virgin Hotel, is a distinguished recipient of this year's award class.

The John Buck Company and Virgin Hotels North America led a spectacular rehabilitation and adaptive reuse effort to convert this 1920s bank and office building into a modern hotel. Modern as it may be, the historic touches that were restored are the real show-stoppers. Terra cotta exterior features were repaired while the lobby harkens back to the original banking hall splendor that includes restored entry frame ornamentation, marble walls, terrazzo flooring, an original cigar bar and a mail chute in the first floor lobby. For all public spaces, coffered ornate ceilings and ornamental elevator elements were restored. In addition, sensitive treatments for new sprinkler and mechanical systems and the installation of a "green" roof exemplified how modern techniques fit in with preservation projects.

The federal historic rehabilitation tax credit and the Chicago Class L Property Tax Reduction Incentive were used for this project.


Steger Building

Commission of Chicago Landmarks | 2015 Chicago Landmark Award for Preservation Excellence

Steger BuildingAnother winner of a Chicago Landmark Award for Preservation Excellence is the Steger Building on East Jackson Boulevard, owned by CA Student Living. This 1909 Neoclassical Chicago skyscraper was originally built as the headquarters for Steger & Sons Piano Manufacturing Company and was part of the city's historic "Music Row." 

Under the new ownerships, the building was designated as a Chicago Landmark and has been adapted to house college students and also has retail space, but still retains many of its defining Classical features. The three-story base has intricate terra cotta details while the lobby is ornately embellished with decorative plaster and the walls feature terra cotta garlands, swags, medallions, rosettes, and foliated bands.

The federal historic rehabilitation tax credit and the Chicago permit fee waiver program were used for this project.


The Inland Steel Building

Commission of Chicago Landmarks | 2015 Chicago Landmark Award for Preservation Excellence


The Inland Steel BuildingThe only mid-century building on our list of award winners, the Inland Steel Building was built in 1958 with an innovative column-free high-rise design. It was the first skyscraper built in the Chicago Loop after the Great Depression.

Capital Properties received this award for the outstanding rehabilitation they undertook, primarily on the interior spaces and most notably the historic lobby. Energy efficiency upgrades and a new vegetative "green" roof also contributed to the success of the rehabilitation that led to a Class A rating for the building, an increase in tenant capacity, and energy reductions of about 65% on a typical floor.

The federal historic rehabilitation tax credit and the Chicago Class L Property Tax Reduction Incentive were used for this project.

Topics: Chicago, preservation awards, MHA Midwest

SpencerBANK Wins 2015 Silver Hammer Award For Rehab of Worcester Fire Alarm & Telegraph Building

Posted by MacRostie Historic Advisors on Wednesday, June 17, 2015
SpencerBANK in Worchester, MA
SpencerBANK in Worchester, MA (Formerly the Worchester Fire Alarm and Telegraph Building, c. 1925)

MHA congratulates our client SpencerBANK as the winner of a 2015 Silver Hammer Award from the Worcester Chamber of Commerce for its rehabilitation of the former Worcester Fire Alarm and Telegraph Building on Park Avenue in Worcester, MA. The former Fire Alarm and Telegraph Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and had been listed on Preservation Worcester’s “Most Endangered Structures” list.

SpencerBANK renovated the historic structure to create its new Elm Park branch location, along with a community meeting room open to the public. MHA helped the bank navigate the state and federal historic tax credit processes, working closely with project architect Gregory J. O’Connor Associates  and contractor F. W. Madigan Company on this important project.

“I think this is a great example of how a small project can be impactful,” stated Albert Rex,  Partner and Director of MHA Northeast. “The combination of its use as a bank along with public meeting space will bring many people to this long vacant building."

The Fire Alarm and Telegraph Building was constructed in 1925 for the Worcester Fire Department. Local architect, Lucius W. Briggs, designed the picturesque English Tudor Revival Style building with a domestic appearance to fit within the surrounding Elm Park's 60 acres of parkland. Briggs was a prominent New England architect whose local works included Memorial Auditorium, Worcester Boys Trade School, South High School, and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The building was, according to Briggs' obituary, a special favorite of his and one of the best examples of his work in the city. It was said that he took "immense joy" from the project, designing and supervising every minute detail.

The original building design, completed for $126,000, included a garage, machine shop, coal room, and boiler room on the first floor, and an operating room, battery room, office, and dormitory on the second floor. The building was later converted to the Grounds, Equipment & Repairs Building for the Worcester School Department at an unknown date.

Preservation Worcester buldingPreservation Worcester bulding

The Bank’s new Elm Park branch features a contemporary, cutting-edge banking environment that maintains the historic integrity of the building’s façade, including the retention of the main facade's historic steel windows. In addition, SpencerBANK constructed a state-of-the-art community meeting room and activity center. Overseen by Preservation Worcester, the room is available to organizations that promote the public use, preservation and stewardship of Elm Park.

Silver Hammer Awards, given by the Chamber at its Annual Awards Ceremony, acknowledge construction or rehabilitation projects that have an extraordinary visual and aesthetic impact on our physical landscape and that have brought new life to some of the region’s most historic assets.

“SpencerBANK is honored to accept this Silver Hammer Award. It symbolizes a unique community effort to restore this historic structure and provide a forum for the preservation and enjoyment of Elm Park. Our new Elm Park branch is up and running and we’re very excited to share it with the community,” said SpencerBANK President & CEO K. Michael Robbins.

post by Megan Lydon

Topics: preservation awards, adaptive use, MHA Northeast