about us  online store  download forms  join us







Preservation News

FEATURED ADVOCACY EFFORTS                                                                  















RFQ Press Release

Lathrop Home Redevelopment & Preservation Plan

Agenda Preserve Lathrop Press Conference

Statement by Landmarks Illinois

Lathrop Images



The Architects Newspaper Feb 19, 2012

Historic tag for Lathrop?
Skyline, Dec. 15, 2010

Chicago Now
Nov. 21, 2010

(10 minute interview, starts at the 9-minute mark)

Sept.22, 2010

Chicago Magazine
April 21, 2010

Another Way: Reimagining Development at Lathrop Homes YouTube

True/Slant January 7, 2010

Preservation Magazine, December 8, 2009

Lathrop Homes Preservation Efforts YouTube

WBBM Radio December 3, 2009

Medill Reports Chicago December 2, 2009

True/Slant December 2, 2009

USA Today December 2, 2009

Chicago Now – September 16, 2009

Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ-FM) – May 6, 2009

Chi-Town Daily News – April 3, 2009

The New York Times – February 9, 2009 – p. 1


Lathrop Homes: RFQ Released



In December 2011, Lathrop Community Partners (LCP) hosted three public workshops to discuss with residents, neighbors and interested parties their vision for a revitalized Lathrop. The workshops focused on three themes: The Greening of Lathrop, Education, and Livable Communities. Landmarks Illinois participated in two of the workshops. Taking input from these meetings, the LCP team is now studying design and planning options for Lathrop and hopes to present them to the public in late spring/early summer 2012. To read more about the planning effort, go to: lathropcommunity.org/index.html.


On October 21, 2010, the Board of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) approved a five-partner development team called Lathrop Community Partners, which will be responsible for revitalizing the historic Lathrop Homes. The team is comprised of Related Midwest, Magellan Development Group, Ardmore Associates, Heartland Housing and Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation. The team was one of six firms that had responded to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), released on January 7, 2010, by the Habitat Company and the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) for development teams interested in redeveloping Lathrop Homes, a 30-building complex located at Diversey Parkway and Damen Avenue along the Chicago River. 

The RFQ focused primarily on Habitat’s and CHA’s goal to retain a master developer to revitalize Lathrop Homes as a model for sustainable affordability and to seek LEED_ND Gold or Platinum certification. If achieved, it would be the first CHA community to obtain such a ranking.
Residents, affordable housing advocates, and preservation organizations continue to stress that historic preservation and reuse of the existing historic buildings at Lathrop is inherently “green” and needs to be an equal goal for developers.  Based on input from the preservation community and Lathrop residents, the RFQ did include historic preservation as an important element of the project.    
At a December 2, 2009, press conference held across the street from Chicago City Hall, a coalition of current and former residents of Lathrop Homes, community organizations, and preservation groups endorsed Landmarks Illinois’ reuse proposal to preserve and reuse the 75-year-old public housing project for affordable housing.

“We believe the site plan and design of historic Lathrop Homes lends itself very well for a reuse scheme that would result in enlarged residential units while qualifying for federal rehabilitation tax credits,” Landmarks Illinois President Jim Peters said.

Since the listing of Lathrop Homes as one of Landmarks Illinois’ 2007 Ten Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois, Landmarks Illinois has attempted to demonstrate the viability of this 1937-vintage public housing complex.




Built by the Public Works Administration as one of the city’s first public housing complexes (initially leased to and later transferred to the CHA), the brick two-story row houses and three and four-story apartment blocks display a variety of architectural details ranging from Art Moderne to Colonial Revival styles. The buildings are arranged in a campus-like environment, separated by landscaped courtyards and linked by intimate archways. The complex was determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) and the National Park Service in 1994.
Unlike most high-rise public housing complexes in Chicago now being demolished by CHA, Lathrop Homes has a successful history with generations of residents who have chosen to remain, despite recent years of deferred maintenance and increased crime. Its desirability is heightened by the landscaped setting and compatible scale – the result of an acclaimed design partnership of notable architects and landscape designers. Furthermore, most of its current residents pride themselves as being part of a racially diverse community in a neighborhood close to jobs and public transportation. With that pride is also an appreciation for Lathrop Homes’ unique character and sense of place.


CHA and the “Plan for Transformation”


Since CHA’s announcement in 2006 that under its “Plan for Transformation” it intended to raze the complex and build a 1,200 unit mixed-income development, many residents have actively advocated for a preservation redevelopment plan rather than one that clears the site or includes any major demolition.


In early 2007, Landmarks Illinois presented to Lathrop residents a Lathrop Homes Redevelopment and Preservation Plan, prepared by Antunovich Associates. Lathrop residents and the organizations representing them, the Lathrop Homes Local Advisory Council and the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, have since consistently used it as a benchmark plan for all discussions with the alderman of the 1st Ward, CHA, and CHA’s “receiver” under the Plan for Transformation, The Habitat Company.


The Preservation Option


In partnership with Lathrop Homes’ residents, the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Preservation Chicago and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Landmarks Illinois has continued to promote historic preservation as the principal means to revitalize this historic complex. The principal goals of a preservation plan are to:


Preserve a majority of Lathrop’s historic building stock in
order to preserve its sense of place and to enable developers
to utilize the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit

Preserve affordable housing for low-moderate income families in a location where market-rate housing is predominant

Reuse existing building stock in order to prevent building
waste from entering landfills

Rehabilitate the existing buildings in order to create more construction jobs


Our organizations believe that the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit, coupled with affordable housing tax credits, gives a development team the ability to carry out a preservation plan that would provide over 700 enlarged and refurbished residential units. Landmarks Illinois has also emphasized that a preservation solution is both inherently more “green” – a major goal of both the alderman and CHA - and would produce more jobs. It has been demonstrated that in historic preservation, 60-70% of the investment goes to labor, versus new construction, where half of the investment goes to materials. (Donovan Rypkema, Economics of Historic Preservation: a Community Leader’s Guide, National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2005).


As the selected development team prepares a revitalization plan, Landmarks Illinois hopes its preservation plan document will provide continued insight toward a preservation solution for Lathrop Homes.







Landmarks Illinois
30 N. Michigan Avenue
Suite 2020
Chicago, IL 60602-3402
tel. 312-922-1742 
fax 312-922-8112



home              top              help              sitemap              donate             membership              email us  


© Landmarks Illinois. All rights reserved. In addition to the copyright to this collective work, copyright to the materials which appear on this site may be held by the individual authors or others. Landmarks Illinois is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1971 and is the state's leading voice for historic preservation.