Two Old Town S.R.O.’s Being Brought Up to Modern Standards

The Carling Hotel at 1512 North LaSalle (via Apple Maps)

The Carling Hotel at 1512 North LaSalle (via Apple Maps)

An Old Town S.R.O. is going to welcome low-income residents for a while longer. The Carling Hotel at 1512 North LaSalle Boulevard has a prime location just a block away from Lincoln Park, across the street from Carl Sandburg Village.

Usually when we have S.R.O. news it’s about the old school form of low-income housing being torn down or converted into luxury condos. This time, one is being saved.

Thanks to money from the new S.R.O. Preservation Initiative and the Chicago’s Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund, the city is buying the 38,000 square foot hotel from its current owner for $10 million, then selling it on to Michaels Development for $3.8 million. Michaels expects the renovation to cost a little over $27 million.

This is one of two Chicago S.R.O.’s that Michaels is rehabilitating. The other is the Marshall Hotel at 1232 North LaSalle.

Both buildings will provide homes for people who make less than 60% of the average salary for the neighborhood. The number of S.R.O.’s has decreased 32% in the last eight years alone.

When the Carling was built in 1927 it had 155 rooms. The hotel is being brought up to modern standards by Landon Bone Baker Architects by adding private bathrooms and kitchenettes. When complete, the hotel will have 80 rooms, 16 of them configured for handicapped residents.

You can read more in the press release below from the Department of Planning and Development.


City Council Approves Plan to Preserve Carling SRO Hotel on the Near North Side

The Carling Hotel on the Near North Side will be rehabilitated as an 80-unit single-room occupancy (SRO) apartment complex under a financing plan approved today by City Council.

The $27.4 million rehabilitation will restore the building’s vintage facade and lobby, update all building systems, and add a private bathroom and kitchenette to each apartment.

“This project will preserve the building as an important housing resource for low-income residents on the Near North Side,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Located at 1512 N. La Salle St., the Carling was built in 1927 as a 155-unit SRO. It’s one of 65 licensed SRO buildings in Chicago, down from approximately 95 in 2008.

As part of the Mayor’s SRO preservation initiative, the City will acquire the four-story property from Carling Hotel LLC for $10 million and transfer it to Michaels Development Co. for $3.8 million for preservation as an SRO.

Funding sources for the acquisition include the SRO Preservation Initiative and the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund, both of which are supported by fees paid by market rate development projects.

Additional project funding will include $2.7 million each in loan financing and donations tax credit equity from the City; a $3.9 million loan and $11.7 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity from the Illinois Housing Development Authority; and $$2.5 million in historic tax credit equity.

Upon completion of the rehabilitation work, eight units will be reserved for CHA residents; 31 units will be affordable for tenants earning up to 50 percent of area median income (AMI); 36 units will be affordable for incomes up to 60 percent AMI; and five units will be affordable for incomes up to 80 percent AMI.

The City’s SRO initiative was formalized in late 2014 by the Emanuel Administration, which worked with the Chicago for All Coalition and other advocacy groups to create an ordinance that protects and generates funds to help preserve SRO buildings. As required by the ordinance, the Carling’s owner notified the City of its intent to sell in January 2015.

Other SROs that are being preserved by the ordinance include the Mark Twain Hotel on the Near North Side and the Palmer-Sawyer in Logan Square. Other SRO buildings that have recently been acquired by the City and sold for redevelopment as affordable housing include the former Diplomat Hotel in Lakeview and the Viceroy Hotel on the Near West Side.

Location: 1512 North LaSalle Boulevard , Old Town

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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