How Long Does It Take To Defrost a Building? About Four Days

The Fulton Market Cold Storage building, which rose in 1923 in the heart of the beef distribution and racketeering district, had to be thawed out before it can become a mixed-use development.

For most of the 20th century, the massive Fulton Market Cold Storage building was a giant freezer for the city: five million cubic feet of perishables, rising in 1923 in the heart of the city’s beef distribution and racketeering district, that’s been very slowly developing as a residential hotspot. (Because history has a sense of narrative, it’s becoming known today as a district of fine, meat-intensive restaurants like the Publican and the Girl and the Goat.) Its owner sold the building and moved its function out to Lyons, and it will become a mixed-use structure.

To do so, it had to be thawed out. It took awhile (via Lynn Becker).

On the left is what the building looked like inside, when John Vachon shot a room full of poultry at 24 degrees below zero for the Farm Security Administration in 1941; on the right, via Perkins and Will, what it looked like when developer Sterling Bay Companies took over.

Fulton Street Cold Storage Chicago

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