The Exterior of The Synagogue, A FLATS® Building at 5029 N Kenmore .

Lifestyle brand FLATS Chicago Reopens Abandoned Synagogue As Micro Apartments
Recently opened in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, The Synagogue (5029 N. Kenmore Ave.) marks one of the latest adaptive reuse projects from Chicago-based FLATS, a Cedar Street Company. The award-winning FLATS Chicago first made a name for itself as a leader in developing stylish micro units. (Micro units are defined by the Urban Land Institute as a dwelling that is 350 square feet or smaller.) Over the past ten years, FLATS has evolved into what founding partner Alex Samoylovich refers to as “a lifestyle brand focused on finding new uses in historic preservation.”

Historic details of The Synagogue exterior
Historic details of The Synagogue exterior FLATS CHICAGO
Samoylovich states that FLATS has “found a niche in adaptive reuse, taking obsolete structures and adapting them into our brand.” In regard to The Synagogue project, the FLATS team was initially approached by a Chicago-based rabbi looking to preserve the century-old abandoned structure; the FLATS team also saw a means for reenergizing what had become a challenging economic pocket of the Uptown neighborhood. The adaptive reuse component of the project involved a $5 million gut renovation of the structure, which had been vacant for over ten years, into a 40-unit residential building.

When asked why FLATS opts to renovate rather than demolish and build new, Samoylovich notes that “creating a space that can integrate into the community” is important to the overall vision of each FLATS build, adding that “adaptive reuse has become a buzz word in the last five years but less people are actually doing it because it’s more challenging than new construction…each FLATS site has a 24-36 month turnaround time, concept to completion.”

Forbes | Julia Brenner
Published online on April, 24th, 2019 at 09:18 AM.