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Chicago’s Morton Salt warehouse to become riverfront office and entertainment complex

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The mixed-use redevelopment has been tentatively dubbed ‘The Salt District’

Chicago’s iconic Morton Salt shed at 1357 N. Elston Avenue.
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

A beloved landmark to North Side commuters for eight decades, Chicago’s Morton Salt shed is preparing to start a new life as a mixed-use office, hospitality, and entertainment complex.

The once industrial property, known for its iconic “umbrella girl” rooftop logo, sold to developer R2 Companies late last year and is gearing up for a $20 million makeover, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Located at 1357 N. Elston Avenue between the Kennedy Expressway and the Chicago River, the former warehouse ceased operations in 2015. Its planned repositioning into the so-called ‘Salt District’ represents the latest property to take advantage of a recent zoning ordinance opening the majority of the 760-acre North Branch Corridor to new, non-industrial use.

A 2016 conceptual rendering of R2’s Salt District development.
Gensler Chicago

According to R2, Morton will remain connected to the building by leasing a 20,000-square-foot research and development facility expected to open in 2020. With construction expected to begin shortly, additional office space in the complex could be ready for tenants as early as the end of this year.

There’s talk that the 4.25-acre property could take on a culinary focus thanks to new restaurants, an indoor market, event space, and possibly a cooking school. R2’s plan will embrace the site’s waterfront locale with new boat launches, water taxi stop, and two-acre park and riverwalk.

The Morton acquisition further bolsters R2’s riverfront holdings in Chicago. The local firm already posses an extensive portfolio of new and rehabbed properties in and around Goose Island.