Aug. 19, 2004
Vol. 23 No. 20

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    University makes contract to sell Shoreland to developer with a history of preserving landmarks in its conversion projects

    By Peter Schuler
    News Office

    The University recently signed a sales contract with the Chicago developer Kenard Corp. to convert its residence hall in the historic Shoreland Hotel building into condominiums.

    Pending a 60-day due-diligence period, Kenard would complete the sale and begin to renovate the building into approximately 260 residential units, while preserving as many of the interior and exterior architectural features as possible.

    Kenard would provide parking inside the building for residents, and any additional spaces would be made available for purchase to residents of the neighborhood.

    The Shoreland Hotel building, located at 5454 S. Shore Dr., overlooking Lake Michigan, would continue to be used as a residence hall for students in the College until the University has completed the construction of new student housing on campus in 2007 or 2008. Planning and marketing activities will take place until the students are relocated, allowing Kenard to begin its physical renovations immediately upon their departure.

    “We are thrilled to be working with a firm with Kenard’s credentials, particularly because of the Lichtermans’ outstanding track record on historical preservation projects,” said Hank Webber, Vice-President for Community and Government Affairs. “Kenard has a well-earned reputation for collaborating closely with actively engaged communities such as Hyde Park. For those of us who love and respect the Shoreland, it will be very exciting to witness the restoration of this historically important element of our local architecture.”

    The award-winning Kenard Corp., run by the husband-and-wife team Hal and Gerry Lichterman, has completed more than $500 million in rehabilitation and new construction developments in the past 25 years, with a focus on older and historic landmark buildings.

    Among Kenard’s recently completed projects were the conversion of the former Chicago Osteopathic Hospital at 5200 S. Ellis Ave. into the Renaissance Place condominiums and the rehabilitation of the Daniel Burnham-designed Fisher Building at 343 S. Dearborn St. into 184 residential apartment units.

    Kenard Corp. also was responsible for the first, mixed-income and for-sale development in the United States, with the transformation of the first phase of the Cabrini-Green public housing complex, which Kenard Management now operates.

    Hal Lichterman noted the Shoreland’s architectural importance. “The Shoreland is a neighborhood treasure. As we have always done with our other projects throughout the city, we will bring the Shoreland Hotel building back to its former glory, and we will take pride in working very closely with the community as we do so.”

    The 13-story Shoreland Hotel, built in 1926, was one of the largest and most luxurious hotels in Chicago and a preferred destination for Hyde Park’s most important visitors, including child star Jackie Coogan and Amelia Earhart, who had attended high school in Hyde Park and stayed at the Shoreland when she returned in 1928.

    During World War II, the Shoreland was employed as temporary housing for soldiers but returned to use as a hotel when the war ended.

    In the 1950s and 1960s, the hotel was a preferred venue for high school proms and other social events. The building was in decline when the University acquired it in the 1970s, and a few years later the University converted it into a dormitory for undergraduates. Many of its original architectural features are intact, both inside the building and on the facades.

    After the sale is finalized, Kenard would immediately lease the building back to the University to continue its uninterrupted use as a residence hall. “Housing and Dining Services will continue to invest in the maintenance and upkeep of the Shoreland at the same level as during its many years as a first-rate student residence, until our students are able to occupy their new space and the building is completely turned over to Kenard,” said Steve Klass, Vice-President and Dean of Students in the University.