2022 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Advocacy
The conversion of the Hotel Belleville into Lofts on the Square is the result of long and successful effort by Belleville residents to find a new use for the city’s largest historic hotel. When Hotel Belleville opened in 1931, it was a major site for trade meetings and conventions and represented Belleville’s commercial and industrial success in the 20th century. After being converted into senior housing, the hotel went vacant in the 2000s. The City of Belleville entertained an offer by a local attorney to buy the building and demolish it, an option that appealed to many in Belleville who were afraid that such a large vacant building would be a downtown economic drain.
Local preservationists, however, saw potential in this historic hotel and rallied around the building, arguing for its preservation and reuse. In 2014, Landmarks Illinois bolstered local preservation efforts by naming the Hotel Belleville to its annual list of Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. The City of Belleville listened to pro-preservation voices and changed course, working with the current development partnership on a National Register of Historic Places designation in 2018 and a $14.6 million rehabilitation that began in 2019.
Belleville’s investment in preservation has paid off with the Lofts on the Square. The rehabilitation of the hotel into 47 affordable apartments using low income housing tax credits and federal and state historic preservation tax credits has created unique opportunities to live in downtown Belleville for residents of low income, retirees and those with disabilities.
(Photo credit: Andrew Bruah Photographer)