Tax incentives have been approved by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks for the redevelopment of the LaSalle Street Cable Car Powerhouse at 500 N LaSalle Drive in River North. Located on the northwest corner with W Illinois Street adjacent to the recently completed 448 N LaSalle office building, the structure will once again become a restaurant from an overseas operator. London-based Hawksmoor will convert the space into a new steakhouse with an undisclosed designer.
Built in 1887 for $35,000 by the North Chicago Street Railroad Company, the three-story structure once housed the engines that pulled over two-miles of cables across the Near North Side and The Loop moving around 100,000 workers per day. At its peak in the 1890’s the Chicago cable car system was the nation’s largest with more than 82 miles of track fueled by multiple powerhouses like this. By 1906 all of the city’s cable car’s were electrified and many powerhouses were obsolete, however this one remained.
Becoming a Chicago Landmark in 2001, it has most recently held Michael Jordan’s restaurant and then a Gino’s East pizza before closing and leaving the space vacant for multiple years. Hawksmoor will be turning the 16,500 square-foot space into their second US outpost with a focus on a central bar and the structure itself. While plans aren’t fully public, the restaurant group has expressed their desire to restore many of the original elements of the building while renovating its kitchen and all of the guest-areas.
The Class-L Property Tax Incentive itself will last for 12-years and facilitate the restaurant’s construction; with this their building assessments are reduced to 10-percent for the first 10-years, 15-percent for year 11, and 20-percent in year 12. As the restaurant prepares to commence construction on the property, no further information has been made public on the design but we can expect an opening in the first half of 2024.