6321 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago
The Strand Hotel, built between 1914 and 1915, was a prominent feature of Chicago’s thriving business district in the south side neighborhood of Woodlawn. The Classical Revival building was a large part of Woodlawn’s vibrant jazz scene, and hosted artists such as John Coltrane, Sonny Stitt and Sonny Rollins in McKie’s Lounge, located in the retail space of the building from the 1950s to 1970s.
The building suffered from neglect after 1970s when it became a single-room occupancy hotel, and had sat vacant for 10 years. Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation bought it from the City of Chicago and undertook a massive rehab of the entire building. The masonry and terra cotta exterior were cleaned and re-pointed, and all damaged bricks and terra cotta elements were replaced. The retail façade, built in the Art Moderne style and added in the 1930s, was refurbished and the plaster ionic columns and moldings in the lobby were restored. The lobby’s ceramic tile floors were also repaired and restored, as well as the grand marble stairs and metal railing. The cove-lighted ceiling in McKie’s Lounge was restored to its original design, and the space now houses an art gallery and salon.
The building now holds 53 studio, and one-bedroom apartments rented to low-income residents and also includes nine market-rate units. Holsten Human Capital Development, co-developer of the project, provides social services to building residents.
This project has been part of the rejuvenation of the Woodlawn Community. The retail spaces in the building have improved street ambiance. Besides providing retail amenities, the Strand also provides affordable housing for community members and a connection to the history of Woodlawn. The Strand serves as a model and hopefully a catalyst for continued redevelopment in Woodlawn.