The Lathrop Project is an effort to convert the Julia C. Lathrop Homes (“Lathrop Homes”) from public housing into a cutting edge, mixed-income development. Lathrop Homes were originally constructed in 1938 as one of the first developments commissioned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Public Works Administration and is one of the City’s first public housing developments.
Located at the intersection of Clybourn, Damen and Diversey and adjacent to the Chicago River, Lathrop Homes spreads across 35.5 acres and consists of 925 residential units within 29 two-story brick row houses and three- and four-story apartment buildings, one small administration building, and an impressive powerhouse all separated by landscaped courtyards in a campus-like arrangement.
The site plan, originally developed by Jens Jensen, is oriented away from the industrial uses that once surrounded the property and turns its back on the once terribly polluted Chicago River. Given the historical significance and architectural integrity of the existing buildings, the Lathrop Homes was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.
The Lathrop Community Partners, consisting of Related Midwest, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, and Heartland Alliance in partnership with the Chicago Housing Authority, will develop a total of 1,116 units of mixed-income housing, important retail and community space, and enhanced landscaping that will open up the historic site to the community at large and bring new life to nearly ½ mile of riverfront.
The first phase of the project was completed in 2019. It entailed the historic rehabilitation of nearly all of the existing buildings on the north side of Diversey Avenue into a total of 414 mixed-income units. This phase included the preservation of 16 existing historic buildings and one new-construction six-story elevator building. A new building was developed at the intersection of Diversey and Clybourn creating an entry point and harkening a new beginning for this site by combining the preservation of the north side with the future new construction on the south side.
This phase included the reactivation of the river, which features:
- A river walk that connects the north and south campuses, and encourage the active use of the river
- A boat launch for kayaks and other small boats
Phase 1B, completed in April of 2023, includes the historic rehabilitation of two iconic buildings. The “T” building located on the north campus and the “S03” building located on the south campus.
Phase 1C is the latest phase under development and includes both the preservation of historic multi-family buildings and new construction.
For more information on Lathrop visit the website.