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Failing to sell as commercial space, former L'Oreal building eyes residential conversion

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The 50,000-square-foot former research lab could bring another 43 dwelling units to the booming South Loop

After languishing on the market for two years as office and laboratory space, a six-story warehouse style building in Chicago’s hot South Loop may instead see new life as 43 residential units and ground floor retail. Located at the southeast corner of Wabash Avenue and East 21st Street, the 19th century structure has been unoccupied since previous tenant, cosmetics giant L’Oreal, left in 2014.

According to zoning notice first reported by sloopin, 2101 S. Wabash is seeking a special use permit to lower the amount of off-street parking that residential use typically requires under Chicago’s code. Instead, the plan hopes to take advantage of the site’s proximity to both Red and Green Line stations. The measure is expected to go before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals for a vote on Friday.

It’s hardly shocking to see more development headed to this rapidly changing and transit-rich location. The surrounding area is in the midst of major transformation into the "McCormick Square" entertainment district that includes new hotels, dining options, and a 10,000-seat event center designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.