A rubber tarp covered the brick and limestone parapet for several years.
Prior to restoration, temporary steel helped stabilize the parapet.
Spalling and cracked limestone could be found throughout the exterior.
Bowing of the veneer brick could be observed on the rear elevations of the tower.
Wire mesh covered and stabilized the bowing brick until repairs could be made.
Deteriorated concrete spandrels were in dire need of repair.
Mast climbers and swingstages were used to access the facades during restoration.
Deteriorated steel shelf angles, which support the veneer brick, were replaced with new, stronger steel.
1600 N. Milwaukee rises dramatically above the intersection of North, Milwaukee and Damen Avenues in Wicker Park. Clad in limestone, light colored brick and concrete, this 12-story deco building with a flat-iron footprint from 1929 was designed by architects Perkins, Chatten and Hammond. For over 80 years, the building stood as a visual anchor of the neighborhood.
Despite its status in the neighborhood, the exterior fell into disrepair over the years and was in dire need of restoration. Central's involvement in the restoration began in 2011 when it provided access to inspect the exterior masonry. Central also performed stabilization repairs. Inspections revealed that the exterior needed a high level of restoration, including work at the massive limestone parapet. Due to the amount of deterioration, the City mandated repairs for public safety.
Fortunately, new owners purchased the building with redevelopment and preservation in mind. Using the guidance of historic preservation standards set by the Secretary of the Interior, Central performed its work starting in 2014: Limestone and brick mortar joints were ground and tuckpointed and deteriorated stone and brick that could not be salvaged were replaced with new stone and brick that closely matched the original materials. Concrete spandrel panels were repaired and preserved. The parapet that was covered with a rubber membrane and shored up with temporary steel, was dismantled, salvaged and rebuilt to its original form. The limestone cladding of the distinct cupola was also salvaged, repaired and rebuilt. Upon completion of masonry work, the building was cleaned. The exterior restoration was thoroughly reviewed by the National Park Service and the City of Chicago to ensure compliance with federal and local preservation standards.
The street-facing facades of the neighboring Hollander Fireproof Warehouse building were also restored. The terra cotta storefront on Milwaukee Avenue, which had been covered for years with layers of graffiti and paint, was cleaned to reveal glossy white terra cotta. Deteriorated terra cotta units that could not be salvaged were replicated and replaced with new terra cotta that is barely distinguishable from the historic terra cotta.
Reopening in 2016 as the "Northwest Tower," this art deco gem, neighborhood anchor and Chicago landmark will see a new life as a hotel.