Built in 1901, the Bush Temple of Music served as a showroom and headquarters for the Bush and Gerts Piano Co. Back then, Chicago was a major piano manufacturing center.
Sitting at the northwest corner of Chicago Avenue and Clark Street, the building is a designated Chicago landmark — it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The French chateauesque building struck a chord with development firm Cedar Street Cos., which bought it in late 2014. After extensive renovation and historical restoration, the renamed Bush Temple was added to its Flats portfolio of apartment properties.
Many of the building’s original architectural elements, like terrazzo floors, floralite glass walls and exterior terra-cotta accents, have been retained, said Cedar Street managing partner Mark Heffron.
“Being able to bring the character back is critical to offering a product that is unique in today’s marketplace,” he said.
Now configured into 101 apartments plus amenity spaces, the Bush Temple welcomed its first residents in December 2017.
The Bush Temple apartments are arranged in 44 floor plans on the second through sixth floors. Units are studios and one-bedrooms, with the exception of a single two-bedroom unit. Many are one-of-a-kind.
All apartments have genuine wood plank flooring, roller shades and a space-saving all-in-one clothes washer and dryer. In kitchens, retro-style Smeg refrigerators add to the old-meets-new feel. Bathrooms have concrete floors and oversized rain-head showers.
Bay windows, skylights and exposed brick walls can be found too, depending on the unit.
A one-bedroom apartment on the second floor measures 428 square feet. From the front door, the foyer leads to a hallway into the main living space. On one side of the hallway is the full bath with shower and single vanity. On the other, a linear closet encloses the washer and dryer combo with space left over. Kitchen appliances and cabinetry line one wall of the living room, leaving a cozy nook for a computer workstation. A second closet is adjacent to the bedroom.
The first-floor lobby has been reimagined as a community lounge for residents and the public. Velvet- and leather-clad seating and crystal chandeliers mingle with worn textured rugs and brass table lamps. Vintage piano stools and a few pianos are scattered about.
Also on the first level is Foxtrot, a modern, tech-savvy bodega that sells quick meals, beverages and everyday essentials.
“You can live on the sixth floor of this building, tell them you want a pint of ice cream and some flowers, and they’ll deliver to your unit through the app,” Heffron said.
Yet to be developed is 6,000 square feet of street-level retail space.
The 5,070-square-foot basement gymnasium is outfitted with cardio- and weight-training equipment, a boxing ring, punching bags and locker rooms. Complimentary fitness classes and bicycle storage are provided.
On the building’s rooftop deck, there’s cushioned furniture and barbecue grills. A dog run is tucked discreetly out of sight.
CTA bus and train and Divvy stations are nearby.
The area is highly walkable, said Heather Fritz, Cedar Street’s creative director. “Restaurants and bars are great in this area. Obviously, you’re downtown, but it feels neighborhood-y and approachable at the same time.”
The folks behind it
The Bush Temple was developed by Cedar Street Cos. Flats is marketing, leasing and managing the building.
The fine print
The Bush Temple
108 W. Chicago Ave.
Apartments: Prices subject to availability and subject to change. Studio, 306 to 515 square feet, from $1,550; junior or convertible one-bedroom, 389 to 527 square feet, from $1,850; one-bedroom, 417 to 744 square feet, from $1,850; two-bedroom, 933 square feet, $3,600.
Lease terms: 12 to 24 months. $50 application fee, $500 move-in fee. Promotional pricing may apply.
Renter’s insurance: Required.
Utilities: Monthly utility fee of $75 to $95 depending on size of unit, includes heating, cooling, water, trash pickup and internet. Wi-Fi is complimentary throughout the building. Residents pay separately for electricity and cable television.
Parking: None onsite. Two neighborhood parking garages offer discounts to residents.
Pets: Pet friendly. Monthly cat fee, $20. Monthly dog fee based on weight, starting at $25. Breed restrictions apply.
Smoking policy: Nonsmoking.
An earlier version of this article stated that Cedar Street Cos. bought the Bush Temple of Music in late 2017. The company bought the building in late 2014.