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Old June 10th, 2006, 06:21 PM   #821
BVictor1
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A busy agenda for this months plan commission

121 North LaSalle Street
City Council Chambers, City Hall
Chicago, Illinois 60602
June 15, 2006
1:00 P.M.


A proposed Amendment to Residential-Business Planned Development No. 967
submitted by Ten East Delaware, LLC and First Elysian Properties, LLC for the property generally located at 912-920 North Rush Street. The applicants propose to increase the overall floor area ratio from 18.73 to 21.68, increase the number of parking spaces in Sub-Area II from 125 to 188 and decrease the number of dwelling units in Sub-Area II from 229 to 144. (42nd Ward)

The Streeter, Tower 2
A proposed Amendment to Residential-Business Planned Development No. 915, as amended submitted by OGM Investors II, LLC for the property generally located at 321- 363 East Ohio Street. The applicant has proposed to increase the number of dwelling units from 900 to 961, increase the number of parking spaces to 961 and reduce the overall height of the Phase II building. (42nd Ward)

A proposed Business Planned Development application submitted by 29/39 South LaSalle Holdings, LLC for the property generally located at 29-39 South LaSalle Street. The applicant proposes to renovate and preserve the historic New York Life Building at 39 South LaSalle Street for a hotel use and to construct a 60-story office building at 29 South LaSalle with enclosed parking for 260 cars. (42nd Ward)

A proposed Amendment to Residential Planned Development No. 947 generally located at 501 West Huron Street. The Applicant proposes to increase the Floor Area Ratio from 7.00 to 8.75 in order to construct a 28-story high-rise with 168 residential units and 186 parking spaces. (42th Ward)

Last edited by BVictor1; June 10th, 2006 at 07:11 PM.
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Old June 11th, 2006, 12:37 AM   #822
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Quote:
The applicants propose to increase the overall floor area ratio from 18.73 to 21.68, increase the number of parking spaces in Sub-Area II from 125 to 188 and decrease the number of dwelling units in Sub-Area II from 229 to 144.
Am I missing something? Why do they want to increase the FAR if they want to decrease the number of dwelling units?
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Old June 20th, 2006, 06:03 PM   #823
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The Chicago Federal Center Expansion
June 20, Tuesday

12:15 P.M. - John Buck Gallery, Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 South Michigan
Sponsor: Chicago Architecture Foundation
Free event

Special lunchtime lecture. Chief Architect of the U.S. General Services Administration's Great Lakes Region, Robert Theel, will present background and future visions for the expansion of Chicago's Federal Center over the next 30 years. The briefing will inform the architectural and construction community about possible approaches and timelines to develop the half-block adjacent to the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago's Miesian Federal Center. The site will improve security for the courthouse, reserve space for future federal workplace needs, and help assure preservation of the Federal Center, an architectural landmark.

Information: 312/922.3432 x266 or on-line
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Old June 21st, 2006, 06:27 PM   #824
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http://www.suntimes.com/output/busin...fin-nok21.html

Mich. Ave. Nokia store set to open
June 21, 2006
BY HOWARD WOLINSKY Business Reporter


Nokia has planted its flag on Michigan Avenue, a block away from a "pop-up" store rival Motorola opened earlier this month in the former Terra Museum of American Art.

Curious shoppers Tuesday morning peeked in the Nokia store at 543 N. Michigan, and were politely informed by security personnel to return on Saturday, when the Finnish phone maker opens its first Nokia Flagship store in North America and only the second in the world (Moscow was No. 1). Nokia gave a preview to the Sun-Times.

Decked out in a black suit with a black shirt, Winston Wright, who heads the Nokia Flagship retail team in the Americas, said, "We're genuinely thrilled to be here. A mobile phone store on Michigan Avenue, how cool is that? That wouldn't have happened 10 years ago."

Wright said the presence of the Nokia store along with the first-of-its-kind Motorola Destination Q store at 666 N. Michigan, designed to promote the new Moto Q e-mail phone with Verizon Wireless, is "good for the category. We think it's great that people in our space are welcome on Fifth Avenue in New York and Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Years ago, phone stores would have been considered declasse. No more."

The Motorola store is meant to run through the summer to show consumers how to use the new Q phone, which adds photo and music features and e-mail to a smart phone. The Nokia Flagship is meant to be a permanent fixture, showing a wide range of phones from very basic "voice-centric" phone for a little more than $100 to smart phones in the $500-to-$700 range on up to handmade luxury phones starting at $5,000.

Tony Marengo, general manager of the Nokia store, formerly assistant manager of the Apple Computer Store up the street and formerly with high-end audio retailer Bang & Olufsen, said "We're here to stay. We're not just a pop-up here for eight weeks."

Take that Moto.

Rather than a mobile phone store, the sleek Flagship store, which contains about 1,200-square-feet of street-level retail space, looks more like an upscale jewelry store. Phones are arranged on display cases with spotlights. The walls are lit with LEDs that change colors. Photos by contestants in a local photography contest and videos made on Nokia N90 phones by film students of Chicago neighborhoods are shown on a series of 28 LED screens that line the north and south walls.

Wright said the emphasis in the store is on educating consumers, helping them find a phone that meets their needs and then helping them learn how to use the phone, such as how to edit a Word file on a phone, or listen to music or to take a photo and then print it out via a wireless Bluetooth connection.

"We've made a big investment in Chicago. It's an important market for us," Wright said.

With the Flagship store on Michigan Avenue, Nokia plans to relocate its Nokia Experience store, which only displays but doesn't sell phones, from North Bridge Mall to Fox Valley Shopping Center. There are similar stores in Northbrook and Schaumburg.

Eighteen Flagship stores are planned, with others already announced for New York, Hong Kong, Helsinki and Mexico City.

Why Chicago? Wright said it wasn't a jab at Motorola. "It was a matter of the real estate becoming available here first," he said.

Neil Mawston, associate director of global wireless practice for Boston-based Strategy Analytics Ltd., said he expects Samsung to join Motorola and Nokia in the retail world. "The rest of the market will struggle to copy Nokia, due to smaller marketing budgets and less resources," he said.

$90,000 for a phone? 'We can go higher'

Got some spare change jangling in your pocket? In the mood for a bit of luxury?

Why not check out the handmade Vertu phones from Nokia in the Vertu Lounge, a "store-within-in-a-store" in the back of the new Nokia Flagship Store at 543 N. Michigan?

Vertu is Nokia's brand name for high-end phones that resemble fine jewelry or watches. The Chicago Vertu store is the first of its kind in the world.

Arnaud De Schuytter, director of Vertu Americas, said the phones contain new materials not ordinarily found in watches, such as virtually unscratchable sappire crystal, polished ceramic, ruby bearings and housings made from gold, stainless steel, titanium, carbon fiber and other unusual materials.

"There is no plastic in these phones," De Schuttyer sniffed in his French accent.

Some materials used on Vertu phones have migrated down to more affordable phones, such as the $749 stainless steel Nokia 8801 and the $599 Nokia 7380 with leather.

If you must know, Vertu phones start at $5,000. One customer ordered a $90,000 phone with platinum and jewels. "We can go higher," De Schuytter allowed.

One extra on these phones is a dedicated concierge button -- the least they could do for the price. For a year, the Vertu owner can call a concierge service virtually anywhere in the world to make dinner reservations and purchase theater and sports tickets. When the year's up, the concierge costs $100 a month.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 06:31 PM   #825
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http://www.chicagosuntimes.com/outpu...-roeder21.html


David Roeder
Buck eyes midrange hotel for State Street site
June 21, 2006
BY DAVID ROEDER SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST


Best known for its Wacker Drive office towers, the John Buck Co. is expanding its investment in hotels as part of a venture to launch a lodging brand across the country.

The Buck firm has signed with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., which is introducing a midrange chain called aloft (written in lower case in an appeal to coolness). In Chicago, Buck hopes to pull off an aloft on its long-vacant site at 505 N. State, next to the American Medical Association headquarters.

Greg Merdinger, principal at the Buck firm, said plans call for pairing a roughly 250-room hotel with 120 residential condominiums in a building somewhere around 20 stories tall. That's shorter than what Buck has called for in prior proposals for the site, a plaza that is a popular outdoor respite for River North office workers.

Merdinger said a smaller building would have a "boutique feel" with "architecture that is very sleek and very fashion forward." He is directing the Buck initiative with Paul Novak, managing director of the hospitality division.

They worked together in the early 1990s to attach a Marriott Courtyard hotel to an apartment tower Buck built at 440 N. Wabash. Novak worked for Marriott's Courtyard division for 11 years and was involved in the construction of more than 200 hotels.

Merdinger said he hopes construction can start at 505 N. State late next year.

Another Chicago area site that could get an aloft is Buck-owned property near 22nd Street and York Road in Oak Brook.
Merdinger said the western suburbs can use new lodging, but he's concerned about Lombard's plan for a government-owned 500-room hotel and convention center. "That could just take the demand right out of that market," Merdinger said.

Novak said that in addition to the Chicago area, Starwood has granted Buck rights to build alofts in four other regions: Ontario, Calif; suburbs of Nashville, Tenn., and Detroit; and part of San Francisco near AT&T Park, home of the Giants.

Joining Buck in the deal are Greenfield Capital Partners LLC and a publicly traded hotel management firm, Interstate Hotels & Resorts Inc. Merdinger said the group hopes to start at least three alofts in its first year and have up to 20 operating by 2012.

Terms of the partnership aren't known. Merdinger said it should require $100 million in annual capital and that all three partners have to agree on site selection.

The nation already has a confusing array of hotel brands, but Starwood believes it has found an opening in what it calls the select service field. It's largely for business travelers and couples who want an upscale place with a bar and a pool, but don't want to pay as much as a Hyatt or Westin might charge.

Merdinger said signature aloft features will include 9-foot ceilings, big windows, built-in workstations and roomy bathrooms. It's a concept fresh from the ground up and therefore isn't suitable for renovated hotels or for being squeezed into old office buildings, he said.

Starwood has said it wants some 500 alofts around the world by 2012. Most probably will go on greenfield locations on the outer reaches of suburbia.

Buck's piece of that amounts to its biggest push into hotels since its North Bridge project in the late 1990s just west of Michigan Avenue. North Bridge included five hotels.

Merdinger said the Chicago firm Guajardo REC Architects LLC will design the 505 N. State building. A principal at the firm, Gregory Randall, has several high-profile credits in town from his work at DeStefano & Partners.
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 10:41 PM   #826
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http://www.suntimes.com/output/busin...merican22.html

American Girl store moving to Water Tower?
June 22, 2006
BY SANDRA GUY Business Reporter


American Girl Place might take over the Lord & Taylor store at Water Tower Place, giving Chicago's doll and tourist attraction a prime Michigan Avenue address.

American Girl probably would take only three of Lord & Taylor's seven floors, enough to expand its existing 35,000 square feet to 47,000 square feet and create a more attractive look, said Jacqueline Hayes, president of Jacqueline Hayes & Associates Ltd., a Chicago real estate brokerage specializing in retail leasing.

The move would be only a block or two away, just on the other side of the Water Tower.

"American Girl's current space [at 111 E. Chicago Ave., just west of Michigan Avenue] is too small and too clumsy. It has proven to be inefficient," Hayes said.

The store draws 1.3 million visitors to Chicago each year.

The most glaring example of the poor store layout is the entrance, a small space that holds little more than an escalator up to the store and cafe, and a stairway down to a museum and theater, Hayes said.

A spokeswoman for American Girl Place said Wednesday, "We're exploring our options."

The spokeswoman for the Middleton, Wis.-based retailer declined to comment further. But she declined to deny that negotiations are under way for space at the Lord & Taylor store.

The Lord & Taylor department-store chain was put up for sale in January by owner Federated Department Stores, which acquired Lord & Taylor at the same time it bought Marshall Field's from May Department Stores.

Federated is reported to be weighing three bids for the Lord & Taylor chain, but the Cincinnati-based company also has been selling off stores one-by-one to shopping-mall developers.

Federated has announced buyers for 56 of 80 local department stores nationwide that it is shedding as a result of its acquisition of May Department Stores. Many of the stores have been sold to mall developers, who use the space to upgrade the mall or lease it to specialty retailers.

Retail analyst Howard Davidowitz has said the 141,000-square-foot Lord & Taylor store at Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave., could be split among fast-growing retailers such as Williams-Sonoma and Bed Bath & Beyond, or it could be sold to a fast-growing retailer such as Target or a department store such as Von Maur.

A sticking point is the difficulty of leasing retail space on upper floors because of poorer visibility than on the Mag Mile. Retail space on North Michigan Avenue also is pricey, with a 3,000-square-foot space renting for $300 and more a square foot, Hayes said.

The trade magazine Women's Wear Daily has reported cash-rich private-equity groups and companies that dispose of poorly performing retail stores are bidding for the Lord & Taylor chain.

A Federated spokesman said he could say nothing more about the bidding process for Lord & Taylor. The sale is expected to be complete by year's end.
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 12:25 AM   #827
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This is somewhat related to the post above. I would really hope that Target or Bed Bath & Beyond did not move into Water Tower.





By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Business Writer 14 minutes ago

NEW YORK - The famed Lord & Taylor chain will go on after its sale to a property development company, but shoppers likely will see a leaner fashion merchant, including perhaps a dramatically smaller flagship store in Manhattan.
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Federated Department Stores Inc. announced a deal Thursday to sell its Lord & Taylor department store chain for about $1.2 billion in cash to Purchase, N.Y.-based NRDC Equity Partners LLC, which will be putting its business under a microscope. NRDC is a partnership between principals of Apollo Real Estate Advisors L.P. and principals of National Realty & Development Corp.

Federated said its board has approved the sale, and the deal is expected to close in the third quarter, pending regulatory approvals.

The $1.195 billion deal includes 48 Lord & Taylor stores, including the Fifth Avenue flagship in Manhattan, as well as a distribution center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Aside from New York, other locations, predominantly in the Northeast, are in New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and District of Columbia.

"It will be business as usual," said Richard Baker, president of NRDC, reached by phone, noting its intention to keep Lord & Taylor as an ongoing specialty department store. "We are going to do a lot of high-level and granular analysis in order to determine the most efficient way to operate each store."

Baker declined to give details, but said that NRDC is studying all of its options, including size and locations of each store. NRDC, for example, will be figuring out whether it makes sense to have a slimmer flagship in Manhattan. The flagship is about 600,000 square feet, but could be slashed in half, Baker said.

Baker skirted the issue of Lord & Taylor's growth potential, only noting that the entire chain could shrink before getting bigger.

NRDC said that it will keep Lord & Taylor's management team, including president and CEO Jane Elfers, who since 2003 has been campaigning to restore its luster. Elfers could not be reached for comment.

"This agreement concludes a successful process to divest Lord & Taylor," said Terry J. Lundgren, Federated's chairman, president and CEO, in a statement. "While Lord & Taylor does not fit with Federated's strategic focus on building the nationwide Macy's and Bloomingdale's brands, it is a well-known niche specialty retailer with a great name, many outstanding locations and an experienced management team."

In February, NRDC acquired Linens 'n Things in partnership with Apollo Management.

"Lord & Taylor has been an iconic national brand for 180 years. We believe there is significant opportunity to continue the revitalization of the brand begun in 2003," Baker said.

Federated, which purchased Lord & Taylor when it acquired May Department Stores Co. last year, announced in January that it was putting Lord & Taylor on the block because it didn't fit with an expansion strategy for its larger Macy's and Bloomingdale's chains.

Lord & Taylor's performance has slipped in recent years. Fixing it is going to be challenging, analysts say.

The department store chain, founded in 1826, had established a reputation for offering American classic design but lost its highbrow appeal in the 1990s amid fierce competition when it began to trade down to lower-priced merchandise.

The retailer's problems grew with increased competition from specialty stores like Chico's FAS Inc., which developed a strong following for the over 35-year-old female customer.

In 2003, Lord & Taylor, under Elfers' leadership, decided to close 32 underperforming stores in 15 states and spearheaded a makeover aimed to bring back more exciting merchandise to its floors. The retailer eliminated moderate-price labels that were overly distributed elsewhere and brought in trendier brands such as Kate Spade. But efforts to bring back the more well-heeled customer have been mixed.

The new buyer's plans to keep Lord & Taylor as an ongoing chain surprised some analysts.

"I was shaking my head a little bit. I wasn't expecting it to be bought as a going concern," said Patricia Edwards, who helps manage retail funds for Wentworth, Hauser and Violich investment counselors."If they are able to bring back merchandise that really surprises and delights their customers, then they will be able to continue as a specialty department store chain. But they can't wallow around in the mire of mediocrity."

Ironically, L&T will be facing even more cutthroat competition this fall from its soon-to-be former parent Federated. That's when Federated will be converting most of its mid-brow May Co. stores to the Macy's brand by September, transforming it from a regional player to a national fashion retailer with more than 800 stores. Macy's will focus on more exclusive partnerships to drive traffic.

Shares of Federated rose 33 cents to close at $36.13 on the
New York Stock Exchange.
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 12:40 AM   #828
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The good news is Lord & Taylors is going to survive
The good news should be this store will survive in its present location. I have never heard that it may be performing poorly. And I don't think American Girl would help the other tenants out much.

Why not put American Girl in the big hole in Chicago Place?
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 12:47 AM   #829
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You know putting it in Chicago Place is a good idea. Thats one way to get people to go to that mall.
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 06:30 AM   #830
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I'm sure that's one of the options that AGP is looking at. I thought the comment about upper floor space being difficult to lease was strange. The statement certainly holds true 99.9% of the time, but, Water Tower is a different beast altogether. It's the only vertical mall in Chicago that really draws and the upper floors see as much traffic as many other ground-level locales on Michigan Avenue.
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 09:08 PM   #831
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June 23, 2006

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Chicago developers reach for the sky
Construction boom adds 40 buildings of 50 stories or more since 2000
(AP) - In this city where the skyscraper was born, it is being reborn.

Luxury condominium towers and office buildings that climb 600 feet or more - some way more - into the sky are sprouting up all over downtown. Along the Chicago River, the Trump International Hotel and Tower is inching its way up to what will be its full 92-story height. Nearby, plans are in the works for a 124-story skyscraper called the Fordham Spire that would knock the Sears Tower from its perch as the tallest building in the United States and take its place among the tallest buildings on the planet.

In all, no fewer than 40 buildings at least 50 stories high have been built since 2000, are under construction or are planned. Together, they add up to a surge in high-rise construction in the city that, if not unprecedented, hasn't been seen here since the 1960s and 1970s when the Sears Tower, John Hancock Center and other buildings helped give the city one of the most distinctive skylines in the world.

And while there is a flurry of high-rise construction in the United States, particularly in New York, Miami and Las Vegas, the tallest of the tall are going up in Chicago. Of the three tallest buildings under construction, two are here, according to Emporis, an independent research group that catalogues high rise construction around the world.

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"Out my window there are two, three, four, five new high-rises under construction or just completed in the last year and a half, and they've just announced another 80-story building," said Jim Fenters, who has lived on the 51st floor of a 54-story building overlooking Grant Park since 1979. "It's just remarkable what's happened here."

So widespread is high-rise construction that projects that would be headline news in other cities go all but unnoticed.

"The Waterview Tower, that project is 1,047 feet, taller than the Chrysler Building," Blair Kamin, the Chicago Tribune's Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic said of one building under construction. "In any other city there would be endless conversations, (but) here a 1,000-foot tower is, 'Ho-hum, how are the Cubs doing?"'

A mix of several factors have triggered this construction frenzy.

Start at City Hall. Chris Carley, the developer of the Fordham Spire, remembers the days not so long ago, maybe seven years, when city officials would greet proposals for high-rises with talk about knocking off 10 or more floors.

"The comment from the planning department was, 'Well, we don't want to have these huge, tall buildings like New York,"' he said.

Contrast that with the more recent experience of Chicago architect David Haymes, during discussions with the city about a planned condominium tower.

"I remember at least two (planning and development) staff members saying, 'Can't you make it taller? We really would like it taller.' We were taken aback."

Other developers report similar experiences.

"If you give them something that's architecturally significant ... they'll let you build what you need to build," said Donald Trump Jr., who is overseeing construction of his father's skyscraper.

Carley and Kamin say Chicago's change in attitude might have something to do with Sam Assefa, a former San Francisco planner who came to the planning department a few years ago espousing the virtues of tall, thin towers like those popping up in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Neither the mayor nor Assefa would comment for this article, but Carley said Mayor Richard M. Daley clearly took Assefa's message to heart.

"He's definitely encouraging and espousing taller buildings," said Carley, whose Fordham Spire would rise 2,000 feet, or more than a third of a mile, into the air.

Known nationally for beautification efforts like planting flowers, shuttering a small downtown airport to open a park, encouraging rooftop gardens and building "green" schools, the mayor might seem an unlikely champion of high-rises.

But Daley's planning commissioner, Lori Healey, says it all makes sense. In exchange for allowing developers to go higher where eyepopping views - and huge price tags - are, the city gets buildings that are a lot smaller at their base than the ones developers would have to build if they weren't allowed to push high into the sky.

"You have less space taken up at the ground levels (and) there is a lot more green space," Healey said.

The city also gets something in short supply in downtowns with shorter, wider buildings: light.

"The shadow cast by the profile of a tall, thin building is much less than a short, fat one," Healey said.

That's not to say there aren't concerns - particularly since some of these new buildings will figuratively and literally cast their shadows on some of the city's most recognizable landmarks.

"There is a concern (that) while on balance this is a good trend, very tall buildings don't belong everywhere," said Kamin, offering Trump's skyscraper as an example.

"The jury's out on whether (the building) will overwhelm landmarks like the Wrigley Building and overwhelm the river," he said. "People are concerned."

But nobody would be talking about the pros and cons of skyscrapers if there weren't a market. In Chicago there is.

It seems that more than a century after the world's first skyscraper, or "cloudbuster" as they were called in 1885 when the nine-story Home Insurance Building went up, Chicagoans remain enamored with tall buildings.

"Chicagoans live and breathe high-rises both within the profession and within the city," said David Scott, chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which, not surprisingly, is based in Chicago.

One reason for the latest surge in construction is that Chicago, like many major cities, is becoming an increasingly popular place to live among people with a lot of money - precisely the population that fled cities for suburbs decades ago.

Downtown, tall condominium towers - some with units selling for millions of dollars - are popping up at a pace that those who track development have never seen before.

"Nearly 6,000 (rental and condominium units ) are going to be delivered this year," said Gail Lissner, vice president at Appraisal Research Counselors, a Chicago real estate consulting firm. "It's bigger than anything I can remember, and I've been in business since 1975."

The city's geography also plays a role. Unlike some other cities that don't have much space to build, Chicago has huge chunks of land. Perhaps more importantly, the land sits near Lake Michigan, the Chicago River or parks - all places where future developers can't build view-blocking skyscrapers of their own.

"We offer unobstructed views, basically forever, of the park and the lake," said Bob O'Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy.

Not only that, but thanks to the internationally acclaimed Millennium Park and other projects, longtime residents like Fenders say the view is getting even better.

From his window, Fenders can see Millennium Park's bandshell designed by architect Frank Gehry. He can also see where Renzo Piano's new wing at the Art Institute of Chicago is being built and the spot where there are plans to build the Santiago Calatrava-designed Fordham Spire.

"These are three of the most famous architects in the world, and their (projects) are right here," he said.
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Old June 28th, 2006, 08:21 AM   #832
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A quick question - does anybody know what the status is on Metropolitan Tower (ie Britannica Ctr./Straus Bldg.)? It's supposedly undergoing condo conversion at the moment, but I haven't heard any news.

The reason I ask, honestly, is because I wanted to take a look inside it - the Emporis description sounds amazing. If it's locked up for construction, it might be a problem.
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Old June 28th, 2006, 05:26 PM   #833
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$143M Converts Metropolitan Into Condos
June 18, 2006 08:53pm

A-$142 million construction loan has been awarded to Louis D. D'Angelo of Metropolitan Properties of Chicago LLC, for the condominium conversion of the 30-story office building and adjacent eight-story building at 310-318 S. Michigan Ave. The two properties will be converted into 248 condominium units.
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Old June 28th, 2006, 05:34 PM   #834
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http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=21136

La Quinta Inns ready to begin construction at 1 S. Franklin

La Quinta Inns & Suites is getting ready to start its conversion of the former Jewish Federation of Chicago's Loop headquarters into a 233-room hotel, the chain's first in the city.

Irving, Texas-based La Quinta plans to start construction on Sept. 1 and open the hotel at 1 S. Franklin St. in December 2007, a spokeswoman says.

The Jewish Federation, which is relocating to an office tower at 200 W. Monroe St., sold the tired, nine-story building to La Quinta for $9.2 million in a transaction that closed in May.

With occupancies and room rates on the rise, hotel developers are back in the building mode, with more than 3,500 rooms in the pipeline for the downtown alone.

In the Loop, Michael Reschke and Barry Mansur plan to convert part of a vintage office building at 208 S. LaSalle St. into a 370-room high-end hotel.

La Quinta plans to target the lower end of the market, with room rates of about $150 a night or less, the spokeswoman says.

"It's really an underserved segment of the Loop market," she says.

The hotel chain plans to expand the building to 120,000 square feet from its current 93,000 square feet, mainly by building an addition on a parking lot just to the east. The hotel will have about 1,600 square feet of meeting space and 4,200 square feet of street-level retail space.

Bryan Sullivan, executive vice-president of Rosemont-based Foresite Realty Partners LLC, represented La Quinta in the sale of the building. Rick Schuham, executive vice-president and branch manager in the Chicago office of Studley Inc., represented the Jewish Federation.

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Old June 28th, 2006, 05:50 PM   #835
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Old June 28th, 2006, 06:44 PM   #836
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CME focuses on economical real estate alternatives


By Thomas A. Corfman
June 28, 2006

(Crain's) — After a lengthy search of new development opportunities on the edge of the West Loop, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. is now focused on a more economical alternative — taking space in an existing downtown building where it would house administrative operations.
Currently located at 10 S. and 30 S. Wacker Drive, the Merc is seemingly a perfect candidate for a new development, with a balance sheet bolstered by $715 million in cash and a stock price whose 52-week low is $252 a share.

But rapid changes among financial exchanges, due to electronic trading and global consolidation, has apparently prompted Merc executives to take a cautious approach to the exchange's real estate needs.

A key part of the Merc's plan has been to move administrative operations to a new location while keeping the exchange's headquarters staff on Wacker Drive, sources say.

A Merc spokesman and its tenant rep, Holly Duran, a principal in Holly Duran Real Estate Partners LLC, decline comment.

About six weeks ago, Chicago-based Equity Office Properties Trust, which co-owns the two-tower complex on South Wacker Drive, put on the market about 175,000 square feet of space currently leased by the Merc at 10 S. Wacker, according to real estate research firm CoStar Group.

That step is consistent with the Merc's plan to downsize.

The country’s largest futures exchange has dropped negotiations to become the single tenant in a new office structure to be built at one of two locations near the West Loop, sources say.

One site is on the northwest corner of Des Plaines and Monroe Streets, which is owned by Des Plaines developer MR Properties LLC. The other site, a block away, is on the southeast corner of Des Plaines and Adams Streets, which is controlled by Chicago-based Fifield Cos., sources say.

Executives with the two development firms decline comment.

Now, the Merc's leading option is 350 N. Orleans St., where the Merc has begun negotiating to take more than 200,000 square feet of space under a long-term deal, sources say. The building is owned by the Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. unit of Vornado Realty Trust, sources say.

"The Mart talks to many prospective tenants, but we do not disclose the details of those conversations at any time," says a spokeswoman. A representative of CB Richard Ellis declines comment.

The Merc could still turn to other options, such as 100 N. Riverside Drive, or working out a deal with Equity Office, sources say.

The Merc currently has 487,000 square feet of office space at 10 S. and 30 S. Wacker Drive, according to a filing earlier this year with the Securities and Exchange Commission by the exchange's parent company. That space does not include the trading floors, totaling 70,000 square feet of space, which are located between the two towers and are owned by an exchange affiliate.





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Old June 28th, 2006, 06:46 PM   #837
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Ooops!
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Old June 28th, 2006, 06:57 PM   #838
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyguy
The hotel chain plans to expand the building to 120,000 square feet from its current 93,000 square feet, mainly by building an addition on a parking lot just to the east. The hotel will have about 1,600 square feet of meeting space and 4,200 square feet of street-level retail space.
^ Nothing says lovin' like getting rid of another parking lot.

Is this the rendering of the whole hotel or just the expansion?
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Old June 28th, 2006, 07:52 PM   #839
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It's hideous - but, it sure does beat parking ) And hip-hip-hooray for retail.
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Old June 28th, 2006, 08:00 PM   #840
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Yeah - here's to hoping that's NOT made out of the EIFS crap it seems to be. That seems to be a new standard for hotel construction, at least in suburban locations, which troubles me.

The design I can live with.. maybe.
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