After standing empty for more than two decades—and sporting furniture spilling down its facade for a goodly 17 years of that—the Hugo Hotel on Sixth and Howard has finally started to fall. Artist Brian Goggin's playful furniture exodus, Defenestration, came down last spring, making way for work to begin on the site in December. The building is, of course, being defenestrated, though as architect Owen Kennerly points out, it's currently being "de-masonated," his coinage for the process of removing the building's unreinforced brick walls.
As you recall, a nine-story, 67-unit affordable apartment building from the nonprofit Mercy Housing will rise in its place. Kennerly's firm, Kennerly Architecture & Planning, reprised the older building's masonry with a brick-wrapped structure divided into two volumes: one nine stories, and the other eight stories with a roof deck on top. On the taller volume, a five-story window cutout will bring light into the corridors and multipurpose areas. Many of the units will have private balconies. There's also a rear-yard garden and ground-floor retail to come. (There will be 8 studios, 24 one-bedrooms, 25 two-bedrooms, and 10 three-bedrooms, by the way.)
Mercy Housing tells us that 53 of the units will go to low-income households that make no more than 50 percent of area median income, with rents ranging between $981 and $1,401 per month, depending on unit size. The remaining 14 apartments will go to low-income developmentally disabled households earning incomes at no more than 35 percent of area median income, who will also benefit from a rental subsidy.
Construction is scheduled to wrap up in January 2017.