For eight decades, this building at 2545 South Dearborn Street housed the workshops and stored the sets for Lyric Opera of Chicago and its predecessors. Now a trio of developers is raising the curtain on the building’s next act.
“This is a gift, getting to work with this old place,” says Leigh Ballen, who, along with Andres Schcolnik and Adolfo Castellanos, bought the structure in 2004. Where possible, they have preserved the relics from the past: the set-painters’ catwalks, the radiator piping (used as handrails on the stairways), the ghostly painted signage on the brick walls. They plan to install a 7,000-square-foot green roof and build three two-story penthouses atop one section of the 190,000-square-foot building.
Of 93 total units (to be built in two phases), 26 have already been sold. At press time, the lowest-priced available condo was a 1,050-square-foot one-bedroom unit with a 120-square-foot loft space, priced at $249,900. One of the three penthouses—a 2,862-square-foot unit with views north to the city—will have the highest price tag: $899,900. The first owners may begin moving in this fall. (For the last days of the Lyric warehouse, read Remains of the Day, a story from Chicago’s December 2004 issue.)