The first residents are moving into the renovated Tower Building in Elgin, and say they love its expansive views and historic character.
"You can see the entire town," said Nicole Dosek, who moved into a 12th floor unit last Friday. "You get a lot of natural light, which is what I was looking for."
Dosek, 24, from Shorewood, said she didn't know Elgin very well but was intrigued when she saw a real estate listing for the 15-floor building. She went on a tour Jan. 19 and moved within a week.
"I fell in love with this place as soon as I saw it," said Dosek, who works and goes to community college in Aurora.
Krystyna Tolentino, 22, said she decided she wanted to live in the Tower Building as soon as she saw photos and pricing online for the 44 apartments. She and her boyfriend were scheduled to move Thursday into a one-bedroom unit on the 13th floor.
"I really wanted to simplify my life and didn't want to live in a three-bedroom home any more because it was just so much work," she said, adding she's excited to be among the first residents of the historical landmark dating to 1929.
The building was redeveloped by Capstone Development Group of St. Louis with tax increment financing money from the city, and state and federal historic tax credits.
Brian Stark's lease starts June 1. He says he's happy downsizing from a Pingree Grove duplex to be close to his job as principal of Coleman Elementary School in Elgin.
Stark, 50, says he has vivid memories of the Tower Building from when he was a child in the 1970s. "My parents' doctor was in that building. I remember going with them to appointments, riding in elevators," he said. "It has good memories for me."
The building contained offices and closed in 2014 after falling into disrepair.
Elgin native Heriberto "Bettoo" Gallardo, 29, planned to move this week to a unit on the ninth floor. He said he was awed by the transformation of the building, where he and other artists rented a studio before it closed.
"It looks like a completely different building," Gallardo said, adding he likes the nontraditional layouts of the apartments. "Obviously if you look at it from the outside, you never know how it used to be. They did an awesome job."
Living in such a building had been his goal after he did high-rise window cleaning at 18, Gallardo said.
"I would see people living in those places and I thought, 'Man, one day I want to live in a place like this,' " he said. "And now it's happening."