WICKER PARK — Developers who are transforming an iconic office building that has towered over the Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues intersection for almost a century will get some tax relief, it was announced Wednesday.
The $22.2 million redevelopment of Wicker Park’s Northwest Tower into a boutique hotel will see reduced property taxes on the building by $3.6 million over the next 12 years under the incentive approved by the City Council.
The project will benefit from a Class L incentive, a special property tax assessment classification to encourage the preservation and rehabilitation of landmark buildings.
A 12-story art deco skyscraper that towers over the Milwaukee, Damen and North Avenue intersection, the Northwest Tower was built in 1928 and is considered to be one of Wicker Park's most iconic buildings.
Located at 1600 N. Milwaukee, the hotel, to be operated by Grupo Habita, a Mexico-based operators of a boutique hotel in New York's arts district, will use the Class L incentive to support the conversion of the building into a 67-room hotel.
Expected to be completed in the summer of 2015, the hotel will offer a first-floor restaurant, lounges, meeting rooms, a rooftop addition and other rooms incorporated into an adjacent, 27,000-square-foot warehouse building.
In addition to room build-outs, planned interior rehabilitation work includes lobby and elevator improvements, new building systems and new fire protection equipment. Exterior work will include repairs to the facade, new windows and the installation of a green roof and exterior lighting.
The Northwest Tower was designed as an office building by the architectural firm of Perkins, Chatten and Hammond. It is located in the Milwaukee Avenue Landmark District.
Work on the exterior restoration of the building began in April and, if all goes as planned, the currently unnamed hotel will be ready for occupancy in the summer of 2015, said Evan Meister, a real estate analyst with Convexity Properties, the developers who are leading the project.
An estimated 250 construction and 150 permanent jobs will be created as a result of the project, the city said.
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