Mercy Housing turns the Former Sears headquarters on Chicago's West Side into an affordable housing project. (Shen Lu/MEDILL)

Old Sears headquarters transitions into affordable housing

By Shen Lu

As Sears, Roebuck & Co. reports multibillion-dollar losses in sales and faces a seemingly fraught future, the prospects of its old headquarters on Chicago’s West Side are looking bright.

The 111-year-old office building had been deserted since Sears, once a retail empire, moved out in 1973. Mercy Housing Inc., a nonprofit firm, recently turned the crumbling building into an affordable housing project called Lofts on Arthington.

Twenty-seven families have moved into the 181-unit facility since it opened in February. The rents are below market prices, ranging from $785 to $1,210.

The building offers a nice, comfortable housing option for low-income Chicagoans. To some, a room in the development means a glimmer of hope in life.

Photo at top: Former Sears headquarters on Chicago’s West Side is now an affordable housing development. (Shen Lu/MEDILL).