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CHICAGO-The former Chess Records warehouse in the 300 block of E. 21st Street will be converted to 119 condominiums, with a 24-story, 140-unit condominium tower built to the west as part of an $80-million proposal. Developer William Warman tells GlobeSt.com he hopes to begin renovation of an eight-story warehouse into Chess Lofts in January, with construction of the Aristocrat condominium tower beginning in April.

The conversion of the 78-year-old building is expected to take a year, Warman adds, while construction of the condominium tower on land now used as a parking lot is scheduled to take 15 months. The studio, one- and two-bedroom units will average $315,000 and 950 sf, he says. In addition, plans by his Prairie Station Development, LLC include six four-story townhouses, which will have three bedrooms.

The plan commission last week endorsed the planned development, which is nearly 40% larger than allowed under existing zoning for the nearly one-acre site on the north side of 21st Street between Calumet and Prairie avenues. Prairie Station Development, LLC will get a density bonus by donating $577,000 to the city’s affordable housing fund.

Warman says financing will likely be provided by Geneva Capital. Property records indicate the two 21,000-sf parcels were acquired earlier this year for a combined $9.9 million.

Leonard and Philip Chess co-founded Aristocrat Records in 1947, changing the name to Chess Records in 1950 when they bought out their partners. Among the artists signed by their record label were Muddy Waters, “Howlin’ Wolf” and Chuck Berry. Chess Records’ offices and studios at 2120 S. Michigan Ave. were designated a Chicago landmark in 1990.

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