historic norman hotel, flats chicago

Construction is Underway: Moss re-designs historic Norman Hotel as 1325 Wilson for Flats Chicago.


We’re excited to introduce you to our latest project under construction for Flats Chicago.

The historic Norman hotel at 1325 Wilson in Uptown is being given a new life as a group of studios, one and two bedroom units with commercial space (including a new outpost of Heritage Coffee) at street level.  As part of our re-design we’ll be stripping the residential floors down to their foundations and revitalizing the public space on the ground floor, adding in shared gym space in the basement and a roof deck on top to command an impressive view south to Chicago’s skyline.

Here’s a sketch of some of the new unit layouts:

unit layouts sketch

Slice of Chicago History

As Flats points out on their own website, the former Norman Hotel has a couple of links to Chicago history.  Not only did Charlie Chaplin reputedly live in the building but Al Capone notoriously kept one of his girlfriends here and visited her when he was in town.

norman history collage

 Highlighting the Structure

For those who like to appreciate the bones of an old building rather than seeing them covered over , we’ve decided to expose the dramatic underside of the concrete ceiling/floor panels.  Keeping this open gives the units a little more height and a lot of unique character to differentiate them from your average drywall box apartment.  When they are cleaned up they should be beautiful and a great fit for Flats Chicago’s theme of preserving and reusing historic buildings – nodding to history while keeping current with design features and amenities.

ceiling photos
Working around the existing structure required a lot of planning to ensure that there wouldn’t be conflicts between plumbing and structural systems.  We used detailed site photos, measurements and drawings to capture the complex existing ceiling pan and concrete beams and then laid the plumbing for the new kitchens and bathrooms out around them.  We expect this to be one of our favorite features when its complete.

ceiling drawings

Construction Progress Report

The early phases of construction usually don’t look very exiting but those weeks of reinforcing structure, setting the plumbing lines and framing out the walls are very important to the finished product so we’re excited to see them underway and going well.  Here are a few snaps from our most recent site visit earlier this week.  There can actually be a lot of beauty in seeing a building stripped to its structure.  Certainly this view along the building through all of the framed units is one that won’t be possible once its all finished!

wilson construction snap 3

wilson construction snap 2

wilson construction snap 1

WATCH THIS SPOT … for further updates on our 1325 Wilson project for Flats Chicago.  Let us know what you think of the project in the comments!