Updated details have been released for the residential project at 2548 S Federal Street in Douglas. Dubbed SL Solar Lofts, the site is bound by W 26th Street to the south, the Metra Rock Island tracks to the west and Stevenson Expressway to the north. The project will rehab and partially expand the existing industrial building into apartments. The previous owner, JDC Group Inc., recently sold the property to its current developer 548 Capital who has taken over the previously detailed plans from Red Architects.
The masonry-clad, limestone detailed structure was built in 1928 for the Rapid Roller Company, and became the Midwest’s largest printing factory at a time when Chicago was often regarded as one of the world’s largest print and publishing districts. The building also at one point published the Muhammad Speaks newspaper from the Nation of Islam with efforts led by a group that included Malcolm X. It eventually became one the most widely read newspapers ever produced by an African-American organization.
In its most recent history, the structure sat vacant with plans for a residential conversion starting as far back as 2016. However the structure was sold to 548 Capital who has experience in developing affordable housing for $3.5 million in January. While updated plans have not been revealed, the developer wants to increase the previously announced unit count of 34 to 50 apartments, split into 20 one-bedroom and 30 two-bedroom layouts. Residents will also have access to various amenities including on-site parking, a fitness center, and a dog room.
A large part of the funding for the project will come from developer Sterling Bay who will be contributing nearly $6 million to build out 28 of the 50 units in the property as affordable apartments in order to offset its 160 N Morgan project in Fulton Market. The project in total is expected to cost around $12 million with 548 Development seeking a loan to fund the remainder. The project will also require a rezoning approval from industrial to residential for which an application was submitted last year. At the moment there is no established construction timeline.