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Plan to build offices above historic West Loop loft building clears key city vote

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The development will breathe new life into the former home of “Prairie Farmer” magazine and WLS Studios

Courtesy of HPA

The West Loop’s office boom is showing few signs of slowing down after the Chicago Plan Commission approved a nine-story, 160,000-square-foot project at 1230 W. Washington Boulevard on Thursday.

Developed by RCG Longview and CLK Properties and designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA), the plan will incorporate an existing 1920s-era loft building at the corner of Washington and Willard. The three-story structure once housed the headquarters of Prairie Farmer magazine as well as radio production facilities for WLS Studios. The structure most recently served as a self-storage facility.

The proposal calls for a new, glassy building to be constructed above and to the west of its historic sibling, which will be restored. The addition will be set back from the older building and will feature architectural mullions that reference the spacing of the brick bays below, according to HPA. New retail space is planned along Washington Boulevard, and 59 parking spaces are included on-site.

New York-based RCG Longview and CLK Properties paid $13.5 million for the property in 2017, Crain’s reported at the time. The same parcel sold for $4.9 million just four years prior—an example of the West Loop’s soaring land values as new apartments, hotels, and corporate headquarters flood the area.

After earning the Plan Commission’s blessing, the project at 1230 W. Washington Boulevard will next head to the city’s committee on Zoning and finally the full Chicago City Council for final approvals.

The development is just a few blocks west of McDonald’s HQ and the upcoming Hyatt House hotel.