Elgin Tower Building Wins 2018 Illinois Landmarks Preservation Award

Elgin Tower Building Wins 2018 Illinois Landmarks Preservation Award

The adaptive use of the Elgin Tower Building is one of the featured recipients of Landmarks Illinois’ 25th anniversary award for historic preservation.

Landmarks Illinois announced Wednesday (Aug. 1, 2018) the recipients of the 2018 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards – an annual program that calls attention to exceptional historic preservation projects in the state.

Photo credit: Christen Sundquist, Landmarks Illinois

The Elgin Tower, located at 100 E. Chicago St. in Elgin, is a 15-story, Art Deco tower that has been transformed from  the “Home Banks Building” into a 44-unit market-rate housing complex.

Still considered the tallest building in Elgin, the iconic tower was completed in June 1929, just months before the stock market crash, leading to decades of underutilization.

“The recent adaptive use project is exemplary not only for its exterior restoration and interior reuse, but also for the extensive collaboration it took to ensure the project’s success, which relied heavily on community and organizational support,” Landmarks Illinois said.

The Illinois River Edge Redevelopment Zone Historic Tax Credit was set to expire in December 2016, and construction delays due to unforeseen circumstances threatened the project’s use of this instrumental funding tool.

Landmarks Illinois acknowledged the impending expiration of the state’s RERZ tax credit, listing it on its 2015 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois and successfully lobbied with representatives from the five River Edge cities to ensure that the legislation was extended, ultimately saving this project.

Exterior scope of work at the Elgin Tower included restoring the building’s limestone façade, restoring the iconic corner-mounted clock and installing 272 windows that are in keeping with historic profiles. Interior scope of work included the restoration of the entrance lobby, which involved restoring historic elevator cabs, decorative plaster and a chandelier.

Original office features, including doors and cabinets, were incorporated into the design of new apartments.

“The Elgin Tower Building is considered one of the most impactful projects in the city’s historic downtown in over 20 years and has since spurred interest among other property owners who are looking to rehabilitate their historic buildings with the use of federal and state historic tax credits,” Landmarks Illinois said.

Other Award Winners

Award recipients will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Chicago on Sept. 15, 2018, which will include special programming to commemorate a quarter century of honoring people saving places in Illinois.

“Celebrating the risk-takers that preserve what is most unique about our communities is a privilege, and Landmarks Illinois is proud to partner annually with the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation to elevate our honorees’ achievements,” said Bonnie McDonald, President and CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “The nine extraordinary 2018 award recipients model what is possible with vision, perseverance and a good dose of moxie. Twenty-five years is only the beginning of the revitalization they will inspire.”

Visit the Landmarks Illinois website for additional information on each award recipient and project.

The Landmarks Illinois 2018 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award recipients are listed below.

The Carling Hotel, Chicago: Award for Advocacy

The project transformed the 1927 former residential hotel into 80 Single-Room-Occupancy (SRO) units and included restoration of historic elements of the Renaissance Revival building.

The building’s owner also commissioned a Multiple Properties Documentation Form, a document that traces the evolution and importance of residential hotels and establishes a framework for listing this previously under-documented building type on the National Register of Historic Places.

Davis Theater, Chicago: Award for Rehabilitation

The rehabilitation project rejuvenated the 1918 Davis Theater, the longest continually operating theater in Chicago, bringing back historic elements while adding modern amenities that retain the original character of the community landmark.

Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities, Edwardsville: Project of the Year Award for Leadership

The project transformed the former Lincoln School, built in 1912, into a vibrant meeting space and cultural center in the Edwardsville community. The project was made possible through the unique private/public partnership of Mannie Jackson, a successful local businessman, and Lewis and Clark Community College. (Read more)

Opera House Block, Plainfield: Award for Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation of this historic opera house included restoring the building’s north and east façade, the storefront and other original architectural features from the 1899 design.

This project has anchored the revitalization of Plainfield’s historic downtown business district, while also bringing new service and entertainment options to the surrounding community. (Read more)

Revel Motor Row, Chicago: Award for Rehabilitation

The rehabilitation project combined and transformed the former Illinois Automotive Club/Chicago Defender Building and the Cadillac Motor Car Company Showroom into an event and production space, ensuring the continued use of these Chicago Landmarks in the South Loop. (Read more)

‘Save Our Story – Save Our Street,’ Creation of the West Burton Place Historic District, Chicago: Award for Advocacy

Residents and preservationists led a grassroots campaign to protect a significant district on West Burton Place in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood, which ultimately received landmark protection from the City of Chicago in 2016.

Those behind the “Save Our Story – Save Our Street” campaign later formed the West Burton Place Neighborhood Association, which continues to work to preserve, promote and celebrate the unique artistic, cultural and historic significance of the 100 block of West Burton Place. (Read more)

Van Leer’s Broadview Mansion, Normal: Award for Stewardship

The Immanuel Bible Foundation, owner of the Van Leer Broadview Mansion and its three-acre estate, and the Town of Normal collaborated to ensure the historic home would be protected in the future, a partnership that can serve as a model for other communities that wish to preserve a historic building.

The town agreed to assist with maintenance expenses for Van Leer’s Broadview Mansion, a 1906 home, in exchange for the Foundation’s consent to designate the property a local landmark. (Read more)

President’s Award for Legislator of the Year

State Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry), State Sen. Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford), State Rep. Steven Andersson (R-Geneva), and State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria).

These four state legislators are being honored jointly as champions of historic preservation who have been instrumental in enacting preservation legislation in Illinois.

Most recently, all four legislators played significant roles in passing legislation that improved the River Edge Redevelopment Zone Historic Tax Credit and created a statewide historic tax credit for Illinois — a bill that Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law in July 2018.

Both Althoff and Andersson are co-chairs of the Illinois Historic Preservation Legislative Caucus and will be retiring in January 2019 at the end of their current terms. (Read more)

About the Awards

Since 1994, the annual Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards has honored the people and places that preserve our state’s heritage and historic spaces. Award recipients serve as outstanding and inspiring examples of historic preservation in Illinois. The awards program is generously funded by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

The 2018 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards Ceremony will take place Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, at Venue SIX10, 610 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago. This year’s award recipients will receive their awards as well as a $1,000 prize.

The event schedule follows:

  • 5 p.m.: Panel Discussion – “Stories from the Past & Present: 25 Years of People Saving Places”
  • 6:30 p.m.: Awards Ceremony, with a celebration of the 25th Anniversary and Cocktail Reception to follow

The Landmarks Illinois 2018 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards Celebration is open to the public. Tickets are $45-$50 for Landmarks Illinois members and $60 for non-members. Register by visiting Landmarks Illinois’ Events Page. You can also register by calling Landmarks Illinois at 312-922-1742.

For more information, visit www.Landmarks.org.

SOURCE: Landmarks Illinois news release