Historic Chicago Redevelopment Becomes Green Apartments

Chicago--An apartment property that combines historic renovation with green building features is now leasing on the West Side of Chicago, and developers say the combination is helping to attract tenants.

Chicago–An unusual apartment property that combines historic renovation with green-building features is now leasing on the West Side of Chicago, and the developers say the combination is helping to attract tenants. The property is Bold L&H Lofts, which features 68 renovated residential loft units, and to attest to its twin historic and green status, it recently won a City of Chicago Landmark Award for preservation excellence and adaptive-reuse exterior and interior rehabilitation, as well as LEED certification. The property is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Designed by famed 1930s-era architect Paul Gerhardt, the designer of Chicago’s noted Lane Tech College Prep High School, the West Side structure was formerly the A.J. Lindemann & Hoverson Co. showroom and warehouse. Renamed the Bold L&H Lofts, it was redeveloped by Lawrence A. Kerner of LK Growth L.L.C. and  Steve Olsher of Bold Development L.L.C.

Among other green building features, Bold L&H Lofts includes elevators that operate on 70 percent less energy than standard models; high-efficiency HVAC systems with heat exchangers; formaldehyde-free kitchen cabinets; low-VOC paint and carpeting; and low-volume plumbing fixtures.

“We’re attracting people in their mid-20s to late-30s, and that generation is very much in tune with green. They even know what LEED means,” Kerner tells MHN. “One thing that’s attracting people is what the building does to protect the environment.”

But that’s not all. Through LEED and the overall design of the building, the developers were able to keep the residents’ living costs down, especially by relatively low electric and gas bills, according to Kerner.

“Costs are definitely on people’s minds these days,” he says. “That’s an important draw. The units’ utility costs tend to be about half that of comparable space in more conventional properties. Heating a two-bedroom space for between $75 and $90 a month is pretty inexpensive.”

Compared with other parts of town, rents at the property aren’t particularly expensive, either. One-bedroom units have 840 square feet and lease for $975 to $1,250 a month. Two-bedroom layouts average 1,240 square feet and rent for $1,300 to $1,675 a month.

Other amenities at Bold L&H Lofts include heated indoor parking, no-extra-cost wifi for the building, polyurethane-sealed and polished concrete floors, and kitchens equipped with granite countertops and other desirable finishes. “We even provide individual urban vegetable and herb gardens on our green roof and currently have a dozen 3-by-4-foot plots,” Kerner says. “Residents have grown cucumbers, basil, sage, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and pumpkins.”