Home News The Lorali, A Former Uptown Single-Room Occupancy Hotel, Will Become 80 Market-Rate Apartments

The Lorali, A Former Uptown Single-Room Occupancy Hotel, Will Become 80 Market-Rate Apartments

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Uptown — A historic low-income hotel in Uptown converted into 80 apartments.

Work is underway to transform the Lollari Building at 1039 Lawrence Avenue into the Lawrence Loft. Lawrence Loft is a market priced apartment complex with ground floor retail space and modern amenities.

The project will convert a former 160-unit single-room occupancy hotel into 80 units mixed with two-bedroom micro-studio apartments, said developer Jim Stoller. It also has a rooftop deck, dog park, bicycle parking, gym and 5,000 square feet of commercial space.

The interior renovation received building permits in late August, allowing us to begin projects that have been underway since at least 2019. This is the neighborhood’s newest studio-occupancy building to be converted to apartments in a larger struggle. Uptown affordable housing.

Lorari was built in 1926 as the Viceroy Hotel and served the uptown entertainment district during the Gilded Age.

A few years later, the building was transformed into a one-room occupancy hotel, with small units rented daily or weekly at low rates to people who might otherwise face homelessness.

The building operated as a studio until 2019, when a rezoning paved the way for a redevelopment into apartments.inhabitants of the building protested against the movesaid they faced uncertain housing conditions if they were forced to leave Lorali.

Stoller said the building was in disrepair and many of its systems were in protected buildings. The developer was a silent partner of Lorali’s owning group for years until he fully purchased the building in 2007, property records show.

Needing a multi-million dollar renovation, Stoller said he was unable to get public funding to keep the building affordable. He said city officials turned down requests for public loans.

“The problem was that it was a 100-year-old building that was functionally obsolete,” says Stoller. “We were looking at different options. [a single-room occupancy] It didn’t make sense economically. ”

According to Stoller, exterior renovations and interior demolition work have already taken place. A historically accurate window has been added to his second floor of the building.

The first units in the new Lawrence Lofts building could be available for occupancy early next year. Rents will range from about $1,300 for a studio to $2,500 for a larger two-bedroom, Stoller said.

The redeveloped Lollari has three affordable units, said a spokesperson for the city’s housing department.

Previously, the building was zoned to house 48 units. The 2019 rezoning allowed us to add an additional 32 units for a total of 80 units. Under the Affordable Housing Agreement with the City, his 10% of newly permitted units in the building must be designated as affordable.

Stoller declined to comment on the affordability element of the project, except that all affordable units are included on the property and efforts have been made to welcome previous residents. Rejected.

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With the renovation, Uptown will lose another 180 single-room occupancy units, in addition to hundreds of other single-room occupancy units that have already been redeveloped. trendy housing.

Last year, the former Wilson Men’s Hotel Debuts as a 76-unit luxury Wilson Club.

The Darlington, a former single-room occupancy building at 4700 N. Racine Ave., has also recently been converted into a market-price building with 48 apartments.hazelton hotel Redeveloped into 60 apartmentsand over 300 affordable units in the Lawrence House building, Converted to condominium From prolific developer Cedar Street.

The loss of one-room occupancy buildings comes amidst a wave of neighborhood development. Concerns about gentrification and forced evictions uptown.

There are still at least five single-room occupancy buildings in Uptown, but they are nearly full, said Tajuana Biloche, housing organizer for Uptown-based ONE Northside. That leaves many people without access to such buildings vulnerable to homelessness, she said.

“There are still some uptown,” said Villoche. “We are fighting hard to save them.”

City law requires a tenant relocation plan for studio occupancy buildings scheduled for redevelopment.

Such efforts were successful when Lorali was vacated in 2019, Stoller said. In this case it will be served, but it is unknown how many will return.

Developers said they don’t believe maintaining single-room occupancy buildings is the way to solve the city’s shortage of affordable housing.

Stoller said it would be prohibitively expensive to refurbish the building while maintaining its use. Additionally, the facility does not have the space to provide services or programs to help those prone to homelessness, he said. A new, affordable development would be a better solution, he said.

“We’re taking a 100-year-old building and saying that low-income housing is never going to be the solution, so we have to keep it,” Stoller said. We need to build housing that fits their needs and help people move forward instead of just warehousing.”

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