Ninety years after it opened as one Chicago’s most lavish apartment hotels, the Sheridan Plaza, at Sheridan Road and Wilson Avenue, is getting back its Jazz Age luster.
A year ago, the building was a deteriorating version of its younger self—some vf its terra cotta ornamentation had come crashing down to the sidewalk—when a Dallas bank foreclosed on $15.8 million in mortgage and interest debt owed by the then-owner of the building. Horizon Realty Group, a nearby rental-property company, bought the building for $10 million and, according to Jeff Michael, an executive with Horizon (his father’s company), is spending about $3 million on renovations.
“We’re in the neighborhood; we though the neglect of this building was a shame,” Michael told me on a recent tour of the property. “We’re really unveiling its potential.” Apartments are being updated, the terra cotta repaired, and the lobby returned to its original elegance. As a result, rents on the apartments are going up by 30 to 50 percent. But as Michael points out, several months after the first rehabbed apartments became available, the building is 86 percent occupied. “The neighborhood can handle these rents,” he says.
Aside from a legal skirmish with Landmarks Illinois over the status of an attached wall from a long-demolished ballroom, Horizon’s renovations have been thorough and impressive. “It’s the same address, but it’s not the same building,” says Marcela Guzman-Lopez, the property manager both before and after Horizon’s purchase. Click through the photo tour below to learn about the building’s distinguished history and the recent renovations.