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Chicago ranked number one for most residential conversions in the U.S.

by Kaylee Palak

Chicago ranked number one for most residential conversions in the U.S.

Chicago has made amazing progress in apartment conversions over the past seven decades, getting to repurpose and recondition many of its old buildings for residential use — and it takes the lead when it comes to the most residential conversions in the U.S., according to a new RentCafe study. With conversions as old as the 1950s, Chicago has transformed 91 buildings and created 14,167 new apartments in the city. 81% of those repurposed buildings are on the affordable side.

Originally built in 1883, the Brock & Rankin printing facility, now the Library Lofts, is one of Chicago’s oldest converted structures. The newest adaptive project was The Draper, converted in 2020 to create 342 new units.

Vintage hotels are Chicago’s most popular type of conversion. Over the last 70 years, 46 hotels were given a second chance, most of which were built in the ‘20s and ‘30s.

Not only has Chicago repurposed popular building types, but the city has also repurposed buildings like a sanatorium, an old shipping dock, and a former athletic club.

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