South Loop’s Historic Rapid Roller Company Building to Start Turning Again

The history of Chicago is written in the buildings of the South Loop. From Motor Row to Chess Records to the former Ebony Jet Building, the commercial buildings south of Madison Street show a city filling the needs and desires of both its citizens and the world.



One of those things that were much more in demand in the olden days were printing presses, and the rollers that made them work. So much so that the Rapid Roller Company built a 17,000 square foot factory at 2556 South Federal Street. Eventually company printing presses gave way to copy machines, which gave way to laser printers, which gave way to not printing anything to save trees. The trees grew. The printing companies shrank, and what was left is an empty loft building on 26th Street, just across I-55 from the former Ickes Homes projects.

Now there are plans to bring the building back to life. Paperwork filed with the city outlines a plan by Anexis Development to turn it into a mixed-use building with 12,000 square feet of retail space on the first two floors, and 24 residences on the floors above. The name is Federal Street Lofts. The designer is KTGY up in River North. And if you’re a railfan, it’s right next to a set of Metra tracks.

  • Developer: Anexis Development
  • Address: 2548 South Federal Street
  • Roof height: 55 feet, 9 inches
  • Tower height: 81 1/2 feet
  • Auto parking: 28 spaces

Location: 2548 South Federal Street, South Loop

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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