Nine months after we reported that the Carling Hotel at 1512 North LaSalle Street was being renovated, the S.R.O. is open once again.
The City of Chicago bought the rooming house for $10 million using money from its 2014 S.R.O. Preservation Initiative and the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund. The property was then sold to Michaels Development for $3.8 million, which pledged to put $27 million worth of improvements into it. According to the Sun-Times, a large portion of that money came from state and local coffers.
The building, which formerly contained 155 run-down last-century residential singles has been brought up to modern standards through a redesign by Landon Bone Baker Architects. The result is 80 full studios, equipped with all mod cons. No more sharing a toilet with God-kn0ws-who down the hall. Sixteen of the units are handicapped-accessible.
Single Room Occupancy residential hotels used to be a staple of urban life in Chicago and other major cities. One formerly located where Pritzker Park is now on the corner of State and Van Buren featured prominently in the 1980 theatrical lovefest The Blues Brothers.
Since then, many have been replaced, converted, or just plain demolished as The City That Works shoves its lower working class citizens further and further into the margins. Chicago lost more than 30% of its S.R.O.’s in the eight years between 2008 and 2016.
The majority of the rooms in the Carling will go to people making less than 60% of the average local wage. Twenty-six of them are set aside for people making less than 30% of the average local wage.