Although stuck in neutral for several years-while McCormick Place officials mulled over expansion plans-several historic buildings along South Michigan Avenue are finally motoring ahead to a new life as condos. Developers are converting three buildings-onetime automobile show rooms bought at auction from McCormick Place in December 2005-into one unified set of 52 units.
Motor Row Lofts, at 2301-2315 South Michigan, combines the white five-story Cadillac Building from 1911 with two three-story structures from 1915: the Cowles, with its distinctive jagged roofline, and the Saxon, a slender jewel box covered in geometrically patterned orange, blue, and white terra cotta. The Chicago architecture firm Holabird & Roche designed each of the buildings.
Inside, the developer Paul Zucker promises to create “dramatic spaces that live up to the exteriors.” That includes lofty ceilings-up to 21 feet high-tall show-room windows, and original plaster walls (in some of the condos). Only a few units have balconies-and they hang over an alley because of a prohibition against altering the historical façades-but some others have patios in an internal courtyard or on private rooftop decks. Residents will share a common deck on the Cadillac roof.
A dozen condos have already been sold; the remaining units range from an 856-square-foot one-bedroom condo with one bath ($259,900) to a 2,049-square-foot two-bedroom condo with two baths and a den priced at $659,000. Zucker expects the building to be ready for occupancy early next year.
ILLUSTRATION: STUDIO 2A INTERNATIONAL