New walls, signage, and windows can be seen along the exterior of the former Morton Salt Factory in West Town, where developers R2 Companies, Blue Star Properties, and Skydeck have planned an adaptive re-use renovation. This revamped complex at 1357 N Elston Avenue will house a new entertainment venue inside the main shed, as well as supplementary R&D offices for Morton Salt in the old packaging buildings. Other changes include the removal of the east shed, a new one-story access corridor, and a new food stand within the former garage.
Lamar Johnson Collaborative is overseeing the design of the changes, while preserving the aesthetic integrity of its architecture. The existing masonry walls will be retained, while the packaging building’s bricked-in windows will have the windows re-added. The main shed’s roof has also been replaced, and will integrate Morton Salt’s iconic logo as it did previously. While the last article noted that the new logo appeared complete, current photos show it beginning to peel. It is unclear if this peeling is weather-related, or if that version was meant for placeholding purposes.
The site is within a five-minute walk from the Route 70 bus line, which is located to the south near the intersection of Division & Elston. Also nearby are multiple CTA L options, the closest of which is the Blue Line at Division station via a 13-minute walk southwest. The next closest station is North/Clybourn for the Red Line via a 16-minute walk southeast. The venue will also be accessible via the Metra at Clybourn Station via a 17-minute walk northwest.
Blue Star Properties is also taking on the role of general contractor for this $46 million construction project, which is expected to open by the end of the summer.