Proj Overview

Project Overview

Situated adjacent to a bus stop and just a few blocks away from a Chicago Transit Authority train station, the Lucy Gonzalez Parsons Apartments in Chicago, Ill., brings a bright, unique aesthetic to the neighborhood while providing much-needed affordable, high-quality housing for the community. The seven-story, 100-unit apartment complex was completely prefabricated using a vast array of precast concrete products, including hollow-core flooring and ceilings, interior and exterior structural wall panels, stairs, and DELTABEAM columns. As an equitable, transit-oriented development (ETOD), the Lucy Gonzalez Parsons Apartments enable all people, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, age, gender, or immigration status to experience the benefits of mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented housing near transit hubs.

Universal Design

To ensure that the new apartment community would blend seamlessly with the surrounding buildings, project architect LBBA of Chicago staggered the stories of the complex. Additionally, to highlight the vibrance and creative energy of the neighborhood, the design showcases several distinctive elements, including faceted precast concrete panels featuring custom-stained coloring at the front and back of the building. The lower exterior levels incorporate a darker stain and were produced using a custom formliner to mimic the visual effect of shiplap siding.

According to Pete Landon, LBBA Principal, the decision to use precast concrete on the project brought many advantages to the work, including efficient and consistent production, enhanced quality control, and an accelerated construction timeline. “Beyond durability, tight insulation, and cost-effectiveness, the total prefabricated building solution addressed the project’s unique design requirements,” he said. “Faceted panels, sculpted recesses, and rich colors in repeating window panels provide relief and a positive feeling in what might otherwise have been a repetitive grid.”

The project team wrestled with several challenges throughout design and construction, some of which stemmed from the transformation of a parking lot into a residential complex. Given the tight urban location, a strategic approach to construction was necessary, and precast concrete offered the best solution for not only long-term durability but also access into the site. By using a phased construction approach powered by precast concrete technology, the team worked from the back to the front of the site, optimizing logistics while minimizing disruption to the surrounding community. The team also understood that significant redevelopment was taking place in the area, and they sought a design that would fit the character of the evolving neighborhood. The final design reflects this aim, with the apartment complex holding the corner of the commercial street and then stepping down to meet the scale of the surrounding residential streets.

With strong structural integrity, superior sound resistance, and minimal maintenance requirements, precast concrete is an ideal solution for affordable urban housing projects like the Lucy Gonzalez Parsons Apartments, which had a building erection period of just 45 days. The use of precast concrete components was vital to the work staying within this time frame. For example, the use of exposed and painted hollow-core precast concrete components for the ceilings of each level helped expedite the construction schedule.

“This multi-family housing project has become a poster child for affordable housing in the community and ETODs as a concept,” Landon said. “The building followers the moniker ‘Good design is for everyone’ and fits in with the ongoing redevelopment directly across the street and future realignment of the nearby plaza.”

Mason Nichols is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based writer and editor who has covered the precast concrete industry since 2013.


2024 PCI Design AwardsBest Multi-Family Building
Project Team


Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, Chicago, Ill.

PCI-Certified Precast Concrete Producer:

Wells, Albany, Minn.


LBBA, Chicago, Ill.

Precast Concrete Specialty Engineer:

MSE (Midwest Structure), West Allis, Wis.

Engineer of Record:

Nayyar & Nayyar International Structural Engineers, Chicago, Ill.

General Contractor:

Linn-Mathes Inc., Chicago, Ill.

PCI-Certified Erector:

Creative Erectors, LLC, Rockford, Ill.

Project Cost:

$40 million ($5.57 million for the precast concrete)

Project Size:

126,000 ft²

Key Project Attributes

  • This project converts a site previously used as a parking lot into an equitable, transit-oriented development.
  • The Lucy Gonzalez Parsons Apartments feature 100 affordable housing units as part of the seven-story, 126,000 ft² structure.
  • The building’s thoughtful, forward-thinking design blends seamlessly with the surrounding commercial and residential spaces.

Project/Precast Scope

  • The Lucy Gonzalez Parsons Apartments represent a total prefabricated solution, incorporating precast concrete interior and exterior structural wall panels (337 pieces, 96,000 ft²), hollow-core flooring and ceilings (573 pieces, 126,000 ft²), stairs (45 pieces), and DELTABEAM columns (7 pieces).
  • Thanks to the use of precast concrete components on the project, the building was erected over the span of just 45 days in early 2021.
  • The project is considered a hallmark of the benefits of ETOD design, significantly enhancing the lives of those who live in the community for years to come.