Historic Johnson Publishing building sold, Plymouth to follow

By Connor Carynski, Campus Editor

Formerly home to Ebony and Jet magazines before being purchased by Columbia in 2010, the Johnson Publishing Building has been sold to 3L Real Estate, a Rosemont-based group that mainly handles multifamily and mixed-use properties throughout the Midwest.

The building sold for more than $10 million and 3L plans on spending another $20 million on building renovations, according to a Nov. 28 Crain’s Business article.

3L plans to conserve the historic value of the building, 820 S. Michigan Ave., that was once the headquarters of the first African-American owned publishing firm in the country but will convert the office space into 150 rental apartments, which are expected to be completed by summer 2019, according to a Nov. 28 press release by 3L Real Estate.

Columbia purchased the building for $4.75 million and has since left it vacant, as reported Sept. 10, 2012, by The Chronicle. The college planned to house a new library in the building, but it never came to fruition, as reported Sept 30, 2013, by The Chronicle. The college also considered converting the building into a student center as reported April 14, 2014, by The Chronicle, but instead decided to build the student center at the corner of 8th Street and Wabash Avenue.

“Both as proponents of historic restoration and adaptive reuse, all of us at 3L are excited to tackle this project that is graced by the city’s front lawn,” CEO of 3L Real Estate Joseph Slezak said in the press release. “We will preserve the character of the original structure and signage while providing affordably priced options for housing in this vibrant and increasingly popular neighborhood.”

3L has also agreed to purchase the Plymouth Court Building from Columbia and has yet to decide whether to maintain the building as student housing or convert it into apartments, according to the Crain’s article. Columbia listed the Plymouth Building for sale earlier this fall, as reported Sept. 11 by The Chronicle.

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