Mayor Brandon Johnson recently joined city officials, developer Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation, and others to celebrate the grand opening of the renovation of Lawson House, a 406-unit affordable apartment complex in the Gold Coast.

Designed by Farr Associates, the $128 million renovation project set out to modernize and preserve affordable apartment units. The rehabilitation of the historic 200,000-square-foot, 24-story apartment complex transformed the building’s 583 single-room occupancy units (SROs) into 409 affordable apartment units with private kitchens and bathrooms.

Lawson House Ribbon CuttingCHA


The ground floor renovation now includes retail space, apartment amenities, and social services for Lawson House tenants. A new rooftop terrace will provide additional space for social services programming for residents.

Lawson House dates back to 1931 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its cultural and architectural legacy. Developed by a partnership between Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation and Holsten Human Capital Development, this building is committed to preserving affordable units for households at or below 15% and 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) levels for a minimum of 50 years.

Lawson HouseFarr Associates

Of the 409 residential units, 322 will be rented out using subsidies: 122 apartments will be allocated for Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund rental subsidies, 100 will be rented through Chicago Housing Authority Project-Based Vouchers (PBVs), and 100 will be rented through Project-Based Rental Assistance.

The redevelopment of Lawson House received support from the Chicago Housing Authority, the City’s Department of Housing (DOH), and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) which provided up to $5 million in 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and $17.5 million in HOME funds to finance the preservation and rehabilitation of this historic Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) building.