Chicago Loop Office to Residential Adaptive Reuse Project

Office to Residential Adaptive Reuse Project Proposed in Chicago

The historic 208 S LaSalle Street building in Chicago's Loop is set to undergo a transformative adaptive reuse project. This iconic structure, originally designed by Daniel Burnham, will be revitalized to meet modern needs while preserving its historic charm. Managed by developer Prime Group and supported by substantial TIF funding, this project offers numerous opportunities for construction workers to engage in a high-profile urban redevelopment. Here’s a comprehensive look at the construction and design aspects.


Project Overview


Key Details


  • Location: 208 S LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois
  • Developer: Prime Group
  • Scope: Adaptive reuse of the historic 1.2 million-square-foot, 22-story building
  • Total Investment: $130 million (TIF funding approved)
  • Completion Timeline: Varies by phase


Project Goals

The main aim of this project is to repurpose the historic building into a mixed-use facility that includes residential units, commercial spaces, and public amenities, preserving its architectural significance while integrating modern functionality.


 “The Loop is an amenity-rich area, but continued foot traffic is key to retaining and attracting retail business. Converting office space to 226 units at 208 LaSalle St. will not only enhance the built-in customer base for downtown retail and amenities, but it will also preserve a piece of Chicago’s architectural history.”

Principal architect & Residential market leader at LJC | Alan Barker


Construction Phases and Key Features


Site Preparation and Initial Work

Urbanize Chicago reports that the initial phase involves meticulous site preparation. Key activities include:


 - Structural Assessments: Evaluating the existing structure to identify necessary reinforcements.

 - Interior Demolition: Carefully removing non-structural elements to make way for new construction while preserving historical features.

 - Utility Upgrades: Updating electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems to meet modern standards.


Foundation and Structural Reinforcement

Ensuring the building’s stability is crucial. This phase includes:


 - Reinforcement Work: Adding steel supports and concrete reinforcements to strengthen the building's foundation and framework.

 - Waterproofing: Implementing waterproofing measures to protect the structure from moisture damage.


Superstructure and Exterior Restoration

Restoring the exterior while maintaining its historic character involves:


 - Facade Restoration: Cleaning, repairing, and restoring the original facade materials, including terracotta and limestone elements.

 - Window Replacement: Installing energy-efficient windows that match the historic design.


Interior Construction and Design

Transforming the interior to accommodate new uses is a complex process. Key tasks include:


 - Floor Plan Redesign: Reconfiguring the floor plans to create residential units, office spaces, and retail areas.

 - Mechanical Installations: Setting up modern HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems.

 - Interior Finishes: Applying drywall, flooring, painting, and installing fixtures to complete the interiors.


Residential Units

The building will house a mix of 226 apartments including:


 - Layouts: Studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments designed with modern amenities.

 - Fixtures: High-quality finishes, energy-efficient appliances, and contemporary fixtures to enhance living standards.


Public Spaces

The lower floors will feature commercial spaces, including:

 - Office Spaces: Flexible office areas equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.

 - Green Spaces: Indoor and rooftop gardens to provide a touch of nature within the urban environment.



The development includes several public amenities and residential amenities.


 - Ground floor lobby

 - Club-inspired tenant lounge: spaces supporting coworking, meetings, etc.

 - Outdoor pool

 - Fitness Center: A modern fitness center for residents and office workers.

 - Community Rooms: Spaces for events and social gatherings.

Design and Sustainability


Architectural Design

Designed by Lamar Johnson Collaborative and Lucien Lagrange, the conversion will also upgrade all older mechanical systems with modern energy-efficient equipment. Key design elements include:


 - Historic Preservation: Retaining original architectural features, such as the grand lobby and ornate detailing.

 - Modern Integration: Incorporating contemporary design elements to meet current standards and aesthetics.


Sustainable Building Practices

Sustainability is a key focus of the project. The construction will incorporate:


 - Energy Efficiency: Installing energy-efficient systems, including LED lighting, high-efficiency HVAC, and smart building technologies.

 - Sustainable Materials: Using eco-friendly materials and recycled resources to minimize environmental impact.

 - Water Conservation: Implementing water-saving fixtures and systems.


Economic and Community Impact


Job Creation

The adaptive reuse of 208 S LaSalle Street is expected to create numerous jobs, benefiting the local economy. The project will employ a diverse workforce, including:


 - General Laborers: Handling various tasks such as demolition and material handling.

 - Skilled Tradespeople: Specializing in carpentry, masonry, electrical work, and plumbing.

 - Engineers and Project Managers: Overseeing the construction process and ensuring adherence to plans and schedules.


Long-Term Benefits

Beyond immediate job creation, the project will significantly enhance the local infrastructure. The new facility will support economic growth, preserve historical value and enhance community engagement.


The adaptive reuse of 208 S LaSalle Street represents a significant urban redevelopment project in Chicago's Loop. For construction workers, this project offers a unique opportunity to engage with innovative construction techniques and sustainable practices. As the project progresses, it underscores the critical role that construction professionals play in building and preserving essential urban infrastructure.



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Posted by Judy Lamelza

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