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Old South Loop Industrial Building Being Demolished to Make Room for Parking

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A vintage three-story timber loft building is being demolished to expand a surface parking lot

Demolition is almost complete on a vintage three story warehouse located along 16th Street that stretches through the narrow block between Federal and Dearborn Streets. The structure most recently served as South Loop Self Storage, but two older signs affixed to the brick facade show that the building had once belonged to the Arrow Bolt and Screw Company. The structure was made up of a brick and heavy timber construction and featured a classic, albeit austere industrial Chicago School facade with some limited Arts and Crafts style detailing.

The building sits within a two block stretch of 16th between State and Clark which has retained an industrial appearance as the surrounding neighborhood has blossomed into new residential communities over the last three decades, transforming a swath of empty railroad yards and multi-story warehouses into thousands of new housing units. While areas directly to the north and east were converted into almost exclusively residential, the immediate vicinity surrounding this razed building was zoned DS-5, a downtown service district which allows the construction of larger retail stores including the South Loop Mariano’s next door. The store opened a couple of years ago and has proven to be very popular with local residents, many of whom chose to drive to the store and routinely fill the parking garage above the store as well as a small surface lot in front of the store. After demolition is completed, the Mariano’s surface lot is to be expanded eastward towards Dearborn Street.

Like the neo-classical structure at 1400 West Washington which is also under demolition, this loft building was not given an orange or red rating from the Chicago Historic Resources Survey, which would have placed a 90 day hold on the demolition permit to determine if the structure has any historic or architectural importance. Completed in 1995, the survey rated 17,371 structures built before 1940 using a color coded system to classify the structure’s architectural integrity and is a tool used during consideration of designating new landmark protections for buildings and districts. Alterations of the original design, as was the case with this loft building, will lower the structure’s overall rating. Buildings not subject to the 90 day hold period often then begin demolition very soon after a permit has been issued. This building in particular was given approval for removal on April 11.

Demolition crews have neatly stacked the structural timbers as the building is being picked apart, allowing pieces of it to live on after this block takes on a more suburban appearance.

Neo-Classical Building Near Union Park Meets the Wrecking Ball [Curbed Chicago]

Chicago Historic Resources Survey [City of Chicago]