OLD TOWN — The Marshall Hotel is slated to undergo a conversion from a single-room-occupancy layout to affordable apartments, joining the Carling Hotel up the street in a city initiative.
The city has issued a building permit for an estimated $11.7 million in work at the Marshall Hotel, 1232 N. LaSalle St.
Jeff Bone of Landon Bone Baker Architects said Thursday that work is expected to start in September.
"The Carling and Marshall — it's not the same project — but it's the same developer, same team," Bone said.
And the same original architect, Edmund Meles, who Bone said gave his firm a grand frame to work with.
Work began on the Carling, 1512 N. LaSalle, late last year, converting the 155-room SRO hotel into an 80-unit apartment building, all of which offer some form of affordability. It was the product of an initiative announced a year ago by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The Marshall Hotel project will basically do the same, converting a 173-room SRO into a 90-unit apartment, all again qualifying as affordable housing. Adjoining rooms will again be combined, with one area serving as a new kitchen and bathroom, where before a communal bathroom was down the hall.
The facade and much of the design elements inside will be preserved in a process set in motion when the Marshall was nominated for recognition by the National Register of Historic Places in February.
"It's a historic rehab," Bone said. "It's really preserving the exterior primary facade and then the interior on the ground floor and the corridors.
"There are a lot of features that ought to be preserved," he added, such as the arched corridors and terrazzo flooring.
The Commission on Chicago Landmarks was considering similar recognition for the Covent Hotel, 2653 N. Clark St., in Lincoln Park on Thursday, perhaps signaling a similar conversion to come.
As with the Carling, the CHA is backing the Marshall Hotel project, approving voucher subsidies for all 90 rooms for the next 30 years.
"It is expected that more than half of the current residents will be eligible to return to the new units when rehabilitation is complete," CHA spokeswoman Molly Sullivan said. "Any resident who is unable to return to the property has received relocation assistance and benefits to find new housing. The rest of the units will be filled by people who are on the CHA waiting list for public housing and from the State Referral Network."
Landon Bone Baker has specialized in affordable housing, winning an award last year for Terrace 459 in Cabrini-Green.
"We love it," Bone said. "Between the Carling and Marshall, it's preserving 170 units of affordable rental housing in the Near North area, which is huge."
Work on the conversion begins in September and figures to take 13 months, Bone said.
The sign outside the Marshall Hotel in 2009. (Flickr/Thomas Hawk)