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City Council Approves Plan To Convert Morton Salt Factory Into Music Hall, Office Building

The $30 million project will generate $4.5 million in annual tax revenues, according to developers.

City leaders reviewed a plan to convert the Morton Salt building near Goose Island into a concert hall and office building.
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GOOSE ISLAND — From Thalia Hall to The Riviera, Chicago has no shortage of music venues with historic significance — but not many stages are inside old factories.

Concert-goers will soon be able to rock out inside the old Morton Salt factory, as City Council approved a zoning change Friday needed to convert the factory, 1357 N. Elston Ave., into office space and a music venue.

Co-developed by Blue Star Properties, the development arm of 16 on Center, and R2, a Chicago-based commercial developer, the $30 million project is expected to create 200 construction jobs and about 50 permanent jobs. It will generate $4.5 million in annual tax revenues, according to plans submitted to the city. 

16 on Center owns Empty Bottle, Thalia Hall, Beauty Bar and other Chicago venues. R2’s portfolio includes recent developments along the riverfront, including Goose Island’s 1315 North Branch and the sprawling REI flagship building, 905 W. Eastman St.

The developers are trying to get landmark status for the old salt factory and plan to keep the factory’s iconic sign, which shows a girl in a yellow rain jacket holding an umbrella.

RELATED: Morton Salt Building Clears Major Hurdle To Secure Landmark Status

Ald. Walter Burnett (27th), has said he was happy the project would retain the sign, which “most of us have known for all of our lives.”

“This is going to bring tourism to the city of Chicago,” Burnett said.

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