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updated: 8/9/2018 4:56 PM

Elgin Tower Building wins preservation award

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  • The Tower Building in Elgin is being recognized with the 2018 Landmark Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation preservation award for adaptive use.

    The Tower Building in Elgin is being recognized with the 2018 Landmark Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation preservation award for adaptive use.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 

The recent rehabilitation of the Tower Building in Elgin is being recognized with "one of the most prestigious preservation awards in the state," as one Elgin historic preservation planner put it.

The 1929, 15-story former office building at 100 E. Chicago St. reopened in late January after being converted into 44 apartments. It is the recipient of the 2018 Landmark Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation preservation award for adaptive use. The awards ceremony is Sept. 15 in Chicago.

City staff members submitted the nomination recognizing developer Capstone Development Group and architect Webster Design, both of St. Louis, and Skender Construction of Chicago, historic preservation planner Christen Sundquist told the city council Wednesday.

The criteria for the award included the impact the project has on the community, the quality and level of difficulty of the project, and the degree to which the project can serve as a model for future ones, Sundquist said.

The Elgin project's challenges included dealing with atypical floor plans and extensive restoration of the exterior, including environmental remediation and commissioning new windows that matched the originals, she said.

The city contributed $6.35 million in tax increment financing money to the project, which also received state and federal historic tax credits. City Manager Rick Kozal praised the city council for having the "strength of conviction to see this project to the finish."

Capstone had a $17.9 million budget for the project, including a developer's fee of $1.1 million, according to documents submitted to the city in late 2017.

The city had denied a Freedom of Information Act request from the Daily Herald to obtain the documents, but the attorney general's office directed the city to release them after the newspaper submitted a request for review.

The building and land cost $936,000 and the construction contract costs amounted to nearly $14.3 million, documents show. There were $205,000 in financing costs, including $103,000 in "city consulting fees." City officials said that money did not go to the city or its representatives. Capstone owner Bill Luchini did not respond to questions.

The Tower Building was 90 percent occupied by late July with only three units open, according to the building's Facebook page.