At the ULI Chicago 8th Annual Vision Awards on July 10, 2019, MHA project the Carling Hotel won a Vision Award in the Program Category. The ULI Chicago Vision Awards honor those projects that have exemplified the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) ideals and set the standard for successful real estate development in Chicago.
The Carling Hotel won for its retention of affordable housing in a historic Single-Room-Occupancy (SRO) building. The building was originally designed in 1927 by Edmund Meles, and the recent redevelopment project, led by the Michaels Organization and designed by Landon Bone Baker Architects, marks the first of its kind under the City of Chicago’s 2014 SRO Preservation Ordinance. The neighborhood surrounding the Carling Hotel, and other neighborhoods in Chicago, are quickly losing their affordable housing options as well as their historic SRO buildings. The redevelopment of SRO buildings like the Carling Hotel into modern-day affordable housing buildings helps retain these important spaces while updating them for the twenty-first century. The project also spear-headed a National Register of Historic Places Multiple Properties Documentation Form (MPDF) on Residential Hotels in Chicago from 1880-1930 (written by Ramsey Historic Consultants, Inc.), that helped the Carling Hotel and future SROs reach listing on the National Register. This allowed the project to also utilize federal Historic Tax Credits (HTCs).
Preservation work at the Carling Hotel included restoration and rehabilitation of the building’s decorative masonry exterior, arched doorways, and terrazzo flooring. The project turned the original 155-room SRO into 80 affordable units, which now include a kitchen and bathroom in each apartment. ULI Chicago praised the Carling Hotel’s demonstration of “the value of combining historic preservation, design, local policy, and private investment in creating affordable housing options for the people of Chicago.” The Carling Hotel has recently won multiple awards, including a Chicago Neighborhood Development Award (read the MHA blog post about the award here), the Landmarks Illinois 2018 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award, and a 2019 Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award for Preservation of Affordable Housing from the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition. MHA would like to congratulate the Michaels Organization, Landon Bone Baker Architects, and the rest of the project team on the recognition of this award!