Best New Home for the Recently Homeless

Harvest Commons

Critics' Picks

1519 W. Warren, 312-660-1354

After a $22 million renovation, the old Viceroy Hotel on the near-west side reopened last year in stunning fashion. The architects behind the renovation, Landon Bone Baker, have restored the terra-cotta facade and the arched ceilings inside. The building originally opened in 1930 as the Union Park Hotel (because it faces Union Park), with 175 cramped rooms, most furnished with wall beds. It was renamed the Viceroy in 1963 and designated a landmark by the city in 2010. The six-story art-deco-style building, for decades a transient hotel and vacant since 2007, now houses 89 single, low-income residents in studio apartments under the banner of Harvest Commons, developed and managed by the nonprofit Heartland Alliance. Many of the residents were recently homeless; some have never before had a home of their own. Their studios feature full kitchens and baths and are furnished with a twin bed and a chair. One floor is reserved for ex-offenders who first participated in a transitional residential program run by Saint Leonard's Ministries. Harvest Commons residents work in Gracie's Cafe on the first floor and help out in the community garden nearby.