Peter Holsten honored for reviving the Strand
November 1st, 2016
When Peter Holsten took the stage the other day to receive honors for rehabbing the Strand Hotel, there was a slight stir in the audience.
“I’m surprised the Strand beat out London House for the top award,” whispered a guest at the Landmarks Illinois’ Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards. Holsten was honored for “project of the year.”
They haven’t seen the Strand, a Classical Revival building in Woodlawn and once a center of the jazz scene. Holsten has refurbished it into a a grand apartment building.
I talked to Holsten before he accepted honors about his career in bringing life to buildings in struggling neighborhoods.
“It’s a core value of mine,” he said. It started early in his career when he purchased a small apartment building in Albany Park because “I could afford it. I didn’t realize I’d specialize in it.”
His Holsten Real Estate Development Corp. has developed affordable housing projects in neighborhoods on the South and West sides, including in the Cabrini Green area. Holsten also worked on the Hilliard Apartments near Chinatown (designed by Bertrand Goldberg), buildings that are part of the Bryn Mawr Historic District and the Midwest Athletic Club in West Garfield Park, which Holsten converted into 276 affordable units in an area where good housing is scarce. He’s currently working on the Lawson House YMCA.