Work Begins on Conversion of Randolph Tower to Apartments

Chicago--When restoration is complete, Village Green's Randolph Tower City Apartments will be a mixed-use, 45-story historic high-rise including 313 rental units.

Chicago–Apartment specialist Village Green has started work on the restoration of Randolph Tower in downtown Chicago, a property that it purchased from bankruptcy court. When complete, Randolph Tower City Apartments will be a mixed-use, 45-story historic high-rise including 313 rental units comprised of studios, convertibles, one- and two-bedroom apartments and penthouses, along with retail and office space.

The apartments will feature 10-foot ceilings, wood floors, and oversized closets and bedrooms, and the building’s lobby will operate like a boutique hotel, with a 24/7 concierge. Tenants will also have access to entertainment and kitchen space in the building’s “Sky Club” and “Sky Park.”

The redevelopment will maintain the building’s historic character. Architect Karl Vitzhum designed the terra-cotta-clad building, located on the corner of Randolph and Wells and originally completed in 1929, in the Gothic Revival style. The building was known as the Steuben Club Building until after World War II, but in 1948 it became known as Randolph Tower. In its early years, the building housed professional offices, retail stores, and recreational and social club space on the upper floors.

The present-day redevelopment effort is being led by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture and LinnMathes Inc. Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc. is the facade architect, while Central Building & Preservation L.P. will do the facade restoration work. Baldwin Historic Properties is the historic consultant. The city of Chicago designated the structure a landmark in 2006. In 2007, the building was officially listed on the state of Illinois Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places.

Randolph Tower City Apartments will follow the National Green Building Standard created by the NAHB, which is equivalent to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification program. A component of the development enables 20 percent of the apartments to be set aside for households earning no more than 50 percent of the area median income.

The $146.6 million project proved to be quite tricky to finance, according to Village Green. The city of Chicago, Citi Community Capital, US Bank, Bank of America, Freddie Mac, the Illinois Housing Development Authority and Key Bank all had a hand in the financing puzzle. Also, the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust invested $20 million to help finance the conversion.

“The reason we are now developing and building Randolph and renting this summer is because CBD Chicago lacks what Randolph will be providing,” Jonathan Holtzman, Village Green CEO, tells MHN. “Village Green’s other two historic buildings–MDA City Apartments and Fisher Building City Apartments–enjoy rents and occupancies that lead the market because the customer is a highly educated consumer.”

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