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Old July 10th, 2005, 10:32 PM   #121
Chi_Coruscant
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I apologized if it was already posted.
---------------------------------------------
Glass and glitz are the new traditions in Streeterville

By John Handley
Tribune staff reporter
Published July 10, 2005

Glass is in. Concrete and brick are out.

Modern is in. Traditional is out.

Those are the guiding lights of Chicago's leading architects who are competing — informally — to design unique skyscrapers for a glitzy new neighborhood.

Their entries in what they hope will be the best of 21st Century residential architecture soon will tower over the south end of Streeterville, the fast developing neighborhood between North Michigan Avenue and Navy Pier.

Suddenly hot, Streeterville will sprout 13 new high-rise condos in the next two years, adding 3,500 residential units.
None of the towers is ordinary. All are contemporary..

Why the switch from the old-style buildings of concrete, brick and stone?

"Developers have discovered that great design actually sells condos," explained David Hovey, president of Optima Inc., an architectural and development firm in Glencoe.

"The surge in contemporary architecture means there is an alternative to bland buildings. It's a breath of fresh air," Hovey added.

Helmut Jahn, internationally known architect of the James R. Thompson Center and the United Airlines terminal at O'Hare International Airport, has designed his first residential high-rise in Chicago for a Streeterville location.

"It will have a total glass and metal skin. No exposed concrete outside. All the balconies are recessed and part of the curtain wall," said Jahn, describing his 41-story condo that will be built at 600 N. Fairbanks Ct. "This building will be different from what you normally see. I call it urbanistically sophisticated."

The building will have a rounded corner at the intersection of Fairbanks and Ohio Street, and one side curves upward from the base.

Jahn noted that there have been complaints about the architecture of some Chicago high-rise condos built in recent years. "In a hot market, you can sell anything. But it's fortunate now that some developers want to do something better," he said.

Gary Rosenberg, president of Urban R2 Development, developer of 600 N. Fairbanks, said it will be "a work of art itself."

Jahn is not as optimistic about all the other residential towers going up in Streeterville. "My expectations are not high. We'll have to wait until they are built."

From residents' perspective, Hovey noted that buildings with floor-to-ceiling glass windows are more livable. "The views are better, and there is more light inside."

"High-rise living is all about the views," said Robert Bistry of Built Form Architects, designer of Avenue East, the 27-story condo to be built at 160 E. Illinois St., directly behind the Intercontinental Hotel at 505 N. Michigan Ave. It will have only three sides with windows.

"Architecturally, Avenue East will be a transition between the classic buildings on Michigan Avenue, including Tribune Tower and the Wrigley Building, and the new high-rises in Streeterville. The east facade will be more glassy than the sides," Bistry said.

"The refreshing, friendly architectural competition in Streeterville is good for the city," he added.

"Most developers want a safe and predictable look, so less interesting architecture has been the result," said David Brininstool, partner in the Chicago architectural firm of Brininstool & Lynch, designer of 550 St. Clair, a 26-story condo to be built at St. Clair and Ohio Streets.

"What's happening now," he said, "is that developers feel architecture has value in the marketplace."

Another force affecting design comes from City Hall. "Mayor Daley didn't like contemporary architecture before. But now he's coming around," said 550 St. Clair developer Mark Sutherland, principal of Sutherland Pearsall Development.

"There has been a definite change in climate at City Hall. Now they are encouraging contemporary design," Brininstool said. "Before, city employees were trying to read the mayor's mind. They thought he wanted red brick and limestone."

"Now is one of the most exciting times in 25 years as an architect. Great work is possible again," Brininstool said.

One key developer looks south for proof of the trend. "Millennium Park was one indication that the city had changed its thinking," said Daniel McLean, president of MCL Cos., builder of three Streeterville condo towers. "Now contemporary architecture is more accepted and main stream. The public has embraced the clean, modern look."

McLean described the look of his latest Streeterville project, Park View, as "soaring glass." Designed by the architectural firm of Solomon Cordwell & Buenz, it will have 47 stories and 270 units and is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter.

Why is Streeterville emerging as a showcase for modern architecture?

Abe Lincoln started it all. He charged $350 in 1858 for legal work in forming Chicago Dock and Canal Trust, a real estate investment firm that became a major landowner in Streeterville.

Then came "Cap" Streeter, who ran his ship aground in 1886 on a sandbar offshore of what is now Chicago Avenue and Superior Street. He decided to stay and gave the neighborhood its name.

Though just east of Michigan Avenue, south Streeterville has been slow to develop. Gradually, the sea of street-level parking lots and industrial sites is giving way to more residential buildings.

The latest condo explosion will fill in most of the vacant sites.

"Streeterville's time has come," said 550 St. Clair developer Sutherland, who added that his firm is planning another residential project in the neighborhood.

First occupancies at 550 are scheduled for the third quarter of 2007.

He says he doesn't fear the competition of the other new buildings being launched at nearly the same time. "No, the momentum of all the projects will help us," he said.

Real estate analyst Steven Friedman, president of S.B. Friedman Co., explained why Streeterville is suddenly hot. "There's land there." He added that the emergence of Chicago as a leisure destination has helped spark the popularity of city living.

"Streeterville is the only place where there are vacant sites near the lake and river," said Gail Lissner, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors. And, she foresees no threat to the launching of the Streeterville projects. Despite fears about the overheated housing market nationally, Chicago condo sales and traffic remain strong, according to Lissner.

Not everyone is looking forward to more construction in Streeterville. The panoramic views of some existing residents will be blocked by the new buildings. These residents also fear the Manhattanization of the neighborhood, resulting in high-rise canyons towering over gridlocked traffic.

Ald. Burton Natarus (42nd), who represents the area, stressed that the neighborhood was approved as a high-rise area in the 1980s, when Chicago Dock and Canal plans were approved.

But McLean, a pioneer in Streeterville condos, sees a different outcome:

"This is the most complete downtown neighborhood in the city," he said, adding that the new projects will increase foot traffic on Streeterville's streets and make it a real neighborhood.

"Streeterville has the river, the lake, a new art gallery, sightseeing boat tours, grocery stores, two hotels, a movie theater, dozens of restaurants, a fountain on the river and views of the city's skyline from many buildings."

As cranes start cropping up, it appears that "Cap" Streeter's new neighborhood has set sail, and no sandbars are likely to block its progress.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 01:35 PM   #122
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Interesting tidbit...........
July 11, 2005

BY BILL ZWECKER SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST Advertisement


TERRA TIDBIT: Word flying around local real estate circles has it that the site of the now-shuttered Terra Museum of American Art on Michigan Avenue is going to be turned into a super-exclusive Ritz-Carlton condominium project, designed by noted Chicago traditionalist architect Lucien Lagrange.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 06:08 PM   #123
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Man I've seen enough of Lucien LaGrange
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Old July 11th, 2005, 06:11 PM   #124
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I wish more wealthy people had some semblance of class. They need consultants analogous to those on the show "What Not to Wear" for rich people, who will instruct about "What not to Buy" in general. Particularly houses. These McMansions and McTowers are driving me crazy. Rich people obviously have an inordinate influence on the landscape. More architectural choices need to be done by experts, not ignoramuses. Then these developers couldn't get away with building so much garbage or rehash.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 08:22 PM   #125
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Columbian Update

Victor and I paid a visit to the sales center after running into eachother, and I am pleased to report...

-Walsh Construction will begin site prep on Friday

-The Mansard roof has been redisgned from the squat hip-roof to an elegant gable with an increased pitch. The roof it self will hide a cooling tower.

-The tower has 47 stories, with residential ending on 46. The cooling tower and mansard roof will rise from floor 48. The tower will have a siries of small set backs toward the top.

-The tower will be clad in real hand-laid brick, the base however will be pre-cast.

-Total height is.......Drumroll please.......................................................................................................................... 513'-7"

We have another 500 footer about to begin!
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Old July 12th, 2005, 03:26 AM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn
Victor and I paid a visit to the sales center after running into eachother, and I am pleased to report...

-Walsh Construction will begin site prep on Friday

-The Mansard roof has been redisgned from the squat hip-roof to an elegant gable with an increased pitch. The roof it self will hide a cooling tower.

-The tower has 47 stories, with residential ending on 46. The cooling tower and mansard roof will rise from floor 48. The tower will have a siries of small set backs toward the top.

-The tower will be clad in real hand-laid brick, the base however will be pre-cast.

-Total height is.......Drumroll please.......................................................................................................................... 513'-7"

We have another 500 footer about to begin!

Actually the height is 517' 3"





I am supposed to be getting a rendering of the building shortly, I will post it once I get it.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 05:22 AM   #127
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Finally, we have been waiting over a year for that one to start. The group I work with thought we were going there months ago.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 08:11 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by kayosthery
Finally, we have been waiting over a year for that one to start. The group I work with thought we were going there months ago.
Is that where you'll be going after you finish the work you are doing at 345 Ohio? I'd like to meet you before you transfer locations.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 01:15 PM   #129
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Chicago draws more tourists, especially from overseas

July 12, 2005

BY SANDRA GUY Business Reporter


Anyone who window-shops the Magnificent Mile could verify a report to be released today showing that tourists have come flooding back to Chicago.

A record 31.9 million travelers visited Chicago last year, a 7 percent increase from 2003 and the highest overall total in the past seven years, according to the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau.

The numbers showed Chicago attracted greater business, leisure and overseas visitors in 2004 than in 2003.

The biggest jump -- a whopping 20.6 percent increase from 2003 -- occurred in overseas tourist visits, reversing a steady decline since 2000. The attractiveness of the United States as a tourist destination increased as the value of the U.S. dollar decreased throughout 2004, and Chicago was a prime beneficiary.

Last year, 935,000 overseas tourists visited Chicago, but the total still trailed the record high of 1.35 million reached in 2000.

Business tourism increased 5.5 percent from 2003, with 13.2 million business travelers stopping in Chicago last year, according to the report. The total was a decline from a high of 13.99 million in 2002, according to the report, which covers data from 1997 through 2004.

But Chicago beat Orlando and New York to be the No. 1 business tourist destination last year.

Leisure travel to Chicago rose 7.5 percent in 2004 to 17.75 million visitors. Chicago ranked No. 4 in leisure travel, trailing Orlando, Las Vegas and New York.

The spike in tourism benefited Chicago hotels, which reported 80 percent occupancy rates on weekends, and close to 90 percent rates on weekends from June through August 2004, according to the report.

This year is showing positive trends, too, with the number of occupied hotel rooms up 3.1 percent through June from the same time a year ago.

However, the average downtown hotel rate in 2004 was $154.71, lower than the average $155.60 in 2003 and a peak rate of $169.71 in 2000, according to the bureau.

Chicago is counting on an improving economy and its new McCormick Place West Building, scheduled to be occupied in early 2008, to attract more tourists, especially business travelers, in the future.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 03:38 PM   #130
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Maybe all these hotels are needed? But good news anyway.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 02:02 PM   #131
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Selected news from David Roeder........

Buyers of land in Loop aim for high-rise hotel

July 13, 2005

BY DAVID ROEDER SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST Advertisement

Property at 215 W. Washington is a candidate for a new downtown hotel. Sources said there's a tentative deal to sell the site to the commercial finance arm of General Electric Co. and one of its Chicago-based subsidiaries, InterPark Holdings Inc.

The sources said the plans for the property call for a parking garage topped by a hotel. They said the selling price is in the range of $10 million to $11 million.

Specifics on the plans couldn't be learned, but many real estate experts believe the site could work for a luxury hotel that would compete with the former Midland, now called the W Chicago City Center, at 172 W. Adams. Marshall Peck, chief executive at InterPark, declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for GE. The marketing agent for the site, Martin Stern of U.S. Equities Realty LLC, did not return calls.

The property was the site of the now-demolished Hotel LaSalle Garage, a valet parking operation that had only one ramp for moving cars up and down. It opened in 1918 as an early attempt to get Model Ts off the muddy streets of downtown. It was designed by the famous firm Holabird & Roche to look like the surrounding office buildings.

A family trust in California has owned the site for years.

GALEWOOD TALE: A possible compromise has emerged in the longstanding stalemate between developer Cal Boender and city officials over development of Galewood Yards on the Northwest Side. City planners have demanded the 50-acre site be reserved for industrial use, which Boender, president of North Development Ltd., has insisted is a dead market. He maintains he could put homes and movie theaters there in a flash.

A source reports Boender is close to a deal with the Chicago unit of the Laborers International Union that could end the impasse. The union is said to want about 20 acres on the western part of the property for a training center. If that happens, the city would then agree to the theaters and about 150 homes on the eastern half. Boender declined to comment.

Galewood Yards is old railroad property at 1900 N. Central. The training center would supplement a similar operation the Laborers have in Carol Stream. The union wants a city location to help it recruit minorities.

COOPERATIVE PLAN: Working in tandem, two investor groups are taking the wraps off plans for condo projects that will extend along the east side of State Street between 8th and 9th. On the southern parcel, William Warman plans a 30-story, 240-unit building called Astoria Tower. Warman said he hopes to start construction by next summer and forecast prices ranging from $150,000 to $700,000.

He's working with Jerry Karp and Wayne Chertow, who have the northern parcel, which would get a 10-story building with 97 units. The zoning for both is in place, and everyone is working with the same architect, Patrick Fitzgerald. This is one deal in which participation by investor-buyers is expected; Warman said some buyers are expected to rent the units to students.

HOTEL HANDSHAKE: The $30 million renovation of the landmark Majestic Building at 22 W. Monroe now has an operator for its future hotel. Hampton Inn has agreed to run the 135-room operation, a vertical version of its limited-service style. So says Michael Tobin, partner at Northern Realty Group Ltd., which is redeveloping the building with the Nederlander Organization. He said the hotel should open in the fall of 2006. The rehab also involves the building's Shubert Theatre, which will be renamed for sponsor LaSalle Bank.

Last edited by Chi_Coruscant; July 13th, 2005 at 02:10 PM.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 02:08 PM   #132
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Record set for condo conversions
$90 million price tag for 2 new projects

By Thomas A. Corfman
Tribune staff reporter
Published July 13, 2005


Like the market for new construction, downtown condominium conversions also are tearing up the record books.

As many as 3,500 former apartment units are predicted to go up for sale as condos this year, shattering the record of 2,424 units set in 1994, according to Appraisal Research Counselors. The first-quarter report tracks project announcements rather than sales.

The Chicago-based consulting firm says the number of announced conversion projects could top 4,100 units, though many of those are priced at the top end of the market.

In the latest sign that conversions are red hot, developers in separate deals in the last week have acquired two apartment buildings at opposite ends of downtown Chicago in transactions worth a total of about $90 million.

The market is "real pricey," said James Letchinger, president of Chicago-based JDL Development Corp.,

In its first condo conversion deal, JDL on Monday purchased the 355-unit Printers Square complex in the South Loop. The five-building complex, at 700 S. Federal St., includes a 217-car garage. The price was in the mid-$40 million range, sources said.

Amid the increasingly crowded condo conversion market, JDL is looking to distinguish the Printers Square project with lower prices. More than half of the units will be less than $200,000 each, Letchinger said.

The deal does not include 161,550 square feet of commercial space, most of which is leased to telecommunications firms.

The seller, Chicago-based Waterton Associates LLC, which was advised by real estate firm CB Richard Ellis Inc., has opted to retain that space. Digital Realty Trust Inc. of San Francisco said this month that a deal to buy the space for $37.5 million had died.

In the second deal, in Streeterville, Burr Ridge-based Vilas Development Corp. last week purchased 222 E. Pearson St. The 213-unit building, constructed in 1963, was owned by an affiliate of Chicago-based Pearl Associates Real Estate Management Inc.

The price was about $47 million, said Greg Moyer, managing director with Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage Co., which represented Pearl.

The two projects follow a parade of other notable condo conversion projects, including:

- 400 N. LaSalle St., a 452-unit apartment tower purchased for $126 million by a venture that includes Chicago-based Draper & Kramer Inc.

- 1400 Lake Shore Drive, a 398-unit building in the Gold Coast that Chicago-based RDM Development and Investment LLC has agreed to buy for about $65 million, sources said.

- The west tower of the two-tower Grand Plaza complex in River North, which Chicago-based Terrapin Properties LLC has agreed to buy for a price in the mid-$90 million range. The 283-unit building has an address of 545 N. Dearborn St.

In terms of sales, Appraisal Research says conversion units accounted for 1,233, or nearly 20 percent, of the record 6,298 new homes sold last year in the area that stretches from Cermak Road on the south to North Avenue and from the lake to, roughly, the Dan Ryan and Kennedy Expressways.

During the first quarter of 2005, sales agreements were reached for 972 conversion units, the most since the downtown housing boom began in late 1997.

Appraisal Research says between 20 percent and 30 percent of conversion units are bought by investors who are looking to put the units back on the rental market, a potential cause for concern if rents drop sharply.

But a demographic trend is also at work, particularly for lower-priced units, as the children of Baby Boomers become old enough to own homes, Moyer said.

And he dismissed fears of a housing bubble, at least in Chicago.

"I'm not selling Ft. Lauderdale real estate," Moyer said.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 02:56 AM   #133
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Quote:
Is that where you'll be going after you finish the work you are doing at 345 Ohio? I'd like to meet you before you transfer locations.
I'm not sure where I'm going. It looks like I'll be switching over to project management in a week or two, and that could put me anywhere from the concrete division to heavy highway or even special projects. I have requested to stay with the concrete division so that I can keep working on the highrises.
We have 2 floors left to frame on the garage and then my crew is rumored to be going out to Bolingbrook to do the Advocate Hospital out there. Otherwise, I've heard that Walsh has another building in Lakeshore East, another building in the south Loop, possibly doing "The Legacy," as well as the Columbian starting this week. So, there are many options for me.
Let me know when you plan to visit the jobsite again and I'll come down and introduce myself. I've met Shawn before, but I don't think I would remember what he looks like, it was a very short discussion about emporis, this website and SSP.com.
By the way, I asked a superintendent at work today if the Columbian was starting this week. He said that it was being delayed another month. I hope your sources are better than his and this project will finally be getting under way.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 09:35 AM   #134
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7/13/2005 10:00:00 PM Email this article • Print this article
Terra cotta teardown?
As preservationists cringe, Central Station eyes orange-rated Michigan Avenue structure


By HAYDN BUSH, Staff Writer

The developers of Central Station apparently have their eyes on a major westward expansion that would result in the demolition of a terra cotta-clad building at 1355 S. Michigan Avenue and the construction of a new residential highrise. The nascent proposal has already drawn fire from Preservation Chicago Vice President Michael Moran, who says tearing down the building would further sterilize the South Loop, and demolish a structure already noted for its significance by the city’s Historic Resources Survey.

Karen Levy, a spokesperson for the Enterprise Company charged with developing the site, confirmed Wednesday that the company is working on a development at 1355 S. Michigan Avenue, but said that the project was in the early planning stages, and that no further information was available. The Enterprise Company has helped develop earlier stages of Central Station, and would be involved in the latest development as well.

"We’re not in a position to talk about it publicly," Levy said.

Connie Buscemi, spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Planning of Development, confirmed that plans for a residential highrise on the site have already been filed with the planning department, via an amendment to the Central Station planned development. The latest project is currently under review by DPD, Buscemi added.

Meanwhile, Moran is already drumming up support for the existing building at 14th and Michigan, which was was constructed in 1909 by the firm of Jenney, Mundie and Jensen. The building is orange-rated on the city’s Historic Resources Survey, which signifies that it possesses potentially significant architecture or historical features.

According to Moran, the architectural firm was founded by William LeBaron Jenney, who helped design the city’s first skyscraper, the Home Insurance building. Moran added that most surviving buildings constructed by Jenney, Mundie and Jensen enjoy landmark status.

He talked up the currently dirty white glazed terra cotta facade—which he said would look even better if it was cleaned—and said the building is definitely worth saving.

"The building is an attractive building," Moran said. "That can’t be questioned by anyone who’s seen it."

And while Moran said he is pleased with much of the new highrises in Central Station, he doesn’t want to see what he views as an important structure torn down. The building, Moran argues, complements the Chicago Firehouse Restaurant building, located across the street at 1401 S. Michigan Avenue, and is part of a pleasing low-rise stretch of South Michigan.

"It’s not an old building sitting by its lonesome in a forest of modern buildings," Moran said.

The 1355 S. Michigan Avenue building, Moran argued, is emblematic of the aging but aesthetically pleasing South Loop buildings that helped spur the area’s residential turnaround. He said the continued razing of such buildings would ultimately harm the development of the South Loop, and create a sterile environment.

"I love high-rises coming on Central Station, but not on this site," Moran said. "It’s the old buildings that bring character to the neighborhood. We shouldn’t kill the goose that laid the golden egg. ...The Central station development has been a great thing. The real balance you have to strike is between sterilizing a neighborhood and energizing a neighborhood."

Officials from The Enterprise Company and Central Station Development are expected to unveil the plan at a meeting of the Greater South Loop Association, scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, July 16 at the First District police headquarters, 1718 S. State.

SOMEONE NEEDS TO ATTEND THAT MEETING IF POSSIBLE, AND TAKE YOUR CAMERA...
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Old July 14th, 2005, 06:42 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by BVictor1
7/13/2005 10:00:00 PM Email this article • Print this article
Terra cotta teardown?
As preservationists cringe, Central Station eyes orange-rated Michigan Avenue structure


By HAYDN BUSH, Staff Writer

The developers of Central Station apparently have their eyes on a major westward expansion that would result in the demolition of a terra cotta-clad building at 1355 S. Michigan Avenue and the construction of a new residential highrise. The nascent proposal has already drawn fire from Preservation Chicago Vice President Michael Moran, who says tearing down the building would further sterilize the South Loop, and demolish a structure already noted for its significance by the city’s Historic Resources Survey.

Karen Levy, a spokesperson for the Enterprise Company charged with developing the site, confirmed Wednesday that the company is working on a development at 1355 S. Michigan Avenue, but said that the project was in the early planning stages, and that no further information was available. The Enterprise Company has helped develop earlier stages of Central Station, and would be involved in the latest development as well.

"We’re not in a position to talk about it publicly," Levy said.

Connie Buscemi, spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Planning of Development, confirmed that plans for a residential highrise on the site have already been filed with the planning department, via an amendment to the Central Station planned development. The latest project is currently under review by DPD, Buscemi added.

Meanwhile, Moran is already drumming up support for the existing building at 14th and Michigan, which was was constructed in 1909 by the firm of Jenney, Mundie and Jensen. The building is orange-rated on the city’s Historic Resources Survey, which signifies that it possesses potentially significant architecture or historical features.

According to Moran, the architectural firm was founded by William LeBaron Jenney, who helped design the city’s first skyscraper, the Home Insurance building. Moran added that most surviving buildings constructed by Jenney, Mundie and Jensen enjoy landmark status.

He talked up the currently dirty white glazed terra cotta facade—which he said would look even better if it was cleaned—and said the building is definitely worth saving.

"The building is an attractive building," Moran said. "That can’t be questioned by anyone who’s seen it."

And while Moran said he is pleased with much of the new highrises in Central Station, he doesn’t want to see what he views as an important structure torn down. The building, Moran argues, complements the Chicago Firehouse Restaurant building, located across the street at 1401 S. Michigan Avenue, and is part of a pleasing low-rise stretch of South Michigan.

"It’s not an old building sitting by its lonesome in a forest of modern buildings," Moran said.

The 1355 S. Michigan Avenue building, Moran argued, is emblematic of the aging but aesthetically pleasing South Loop buildings that helped spur the area’s residential turnaround. He said the continued razing of such buildings would ultimately harm the development of the South Loop, and create a sterile environment.

"I love high-rises coming on Central Station, but not on this site," Moran said. "It’s the old buildings that bring character to the neighborhood. We shouldn’t kill the goose that laid the golden egg. ...The Central station development has been a great thing. The real balance you have to strike is between sterilizing a neighborhood and energizing a neighborhood."

Officials from The Enterprise Company and Central Station Development are expected to unveil the plan at a meeting of the Greater South Loop Association, scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, July 16 at the First District police headquarters, 1718 S. State.

SOMEONE NEEDS TO ATTEND THAT MEETING IF POSSIBLE, AND TAKE YOUR CAMERA...
^I wonder what the Greater South Loop Association's stance on this is.

Often I am at odds with preservationalists, but here they certainly have a point. The South Loop has largely been swept clean of a lot of its architectural history, and a nice building like this one really should be preserved. I see no reason why it should be demolished.
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Old July 16th, 2005, 10:06 PM   #136
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Developer to buy CBS studio site
Sale will help finance WBBM's move to Block 37 in the Loop

By Thomas A. Corfman
Tribune staff reporter
Published July 16, 2005

WBBM-Ch. 2 has a letter of intent to sell to a developer the station's historic Streeterville studios, the site of the first-ever televised presidential debate, between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon.

The developer, Golub & Co., would tear down the antiquated structure to make way for a residential development after the station moves to a new facility on Block 37 in late 2007, sources said.

Meanwhile, in another sign that the massive Loop mixed-use project is moving forward, Mills Corp., the master developer of Block 37, is putting up for sale the rights to develop the residential and hotel portions of the proposed complex.

The demolition of the studios at 630 N. McClurg Ct. has been expected since 2002, when the CBS-owned station hired real estate firm Staubach Co. to explore options.

Built in 1924 as a horse stable, the three-story structure's physical condition has deteriorated in recent years despite efforts to maintain it.

Proceeds from the sale would help finance WBBM's move to Block 37, where Mills is developing a state-of-the-art facility.

The station and Chicago-based Golub have reached a non-binding agreement on the essential terms of the deal, sources said. The price is in the upper $20 million range for the 66,490-square-foot site.

The deal is expected to be finalized within two weeks, sources said.

A WBBM spokeswoman said a sales contract had not been signed and declined to comment further.

Michael Newman, Golub's president and chief executive, could not be reached for comment.

The deal has some risk for Golub, which must predict what the residential market will be like in more than five years, when the first phase of any development on the site would likely be completed. Currently, the area is undergoing a dramatic building boom.

But a downturn in the market could further delay the start of construction, increasing carrying costs and eating into potential profits.

"There are always risks," said Gail Lissner, vice president with Chicago consulting firm Appraisal Research Counselors.

But Golub, founded in 1960, is an experienced high-rise developer, currently building a 49-story apartment building at 345 E. Ohio St., the first stage of a two-tower complex.

WBBM has been broadcasting from its current facility since 1956, after buying the property for nearly $1.3 million.

Before its current use, the building had been converted into an ice-skating rink and bowling alley called Chicago Arena.

The structure's historical high point was undoubtedly 1960, when the first Kennedy-Nixon debate, considered a pivotal moment in American politics, was held in Studio One.

WBBM traces its history to WBKB, Chicago's first television station, which began broadcasting on Channel 4 in 1946.

In 1953, CBS bought WBKB from movie theater chain Balaban & Katz, a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures, and changed the station's call letters. Ironically, Paramount was acquired in 1996 by New York media conglomerate Viacom Inc., which acquired CBS two years ago in a $45 billion deal.

On Block 37, WBBM's studios would be located on the northeast corner of Dearborn and Washington Streets, across from the Picasso sculpture in Daley Center Plaza.

The station's studios and offices would be part of Block 37's first phase, which also includes a five-story shopping center base.

Mills, a retail specialist, has hired the Chicago office of real estate firm Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP to market the rights to build the later phases of the project, a spokeswoman for the Virginia real estate company confirmed.

Those later stages would be a hotel tower of at least 135,000 total square feet, to be located at Dearborn and Randolph Streets, and a residential tower of at least 150,000 total square feet, to be located at Randolph and State.

But the parking garage planned for the project accommodates no more than 300 cars, which some observers say could diminish the value.

An unusual aspect of Mills' agreement with the Daley administration allows the city to share in the proceeds from the sales of the residential and hotel development rights, based on the price.

----------

tcorfman@tribune.com

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Old July 16th, 2005, 10:11 PM   #137
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I got a decent color rendering of The Columbian.

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Old July 16th, 2005, 10:33 PM   #138
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July 16, 2005
Hotel rates rise sharply
Signs of pickup in convention business accompany price hikes


By Kristina Buchthal
[img] http://www.***************************/news/17131.gif[/img]

Hotel room prices are rising again in Chicago amid the first signs of a pickup in the city's convention business since the post-Sept. 11 travel slump.
According to the most recent figures available from the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, room rates in downtown Chicago climbed $23 to an average of $183.70 in May, up 14% from May 2004, when hotel prices for the city's third-biggest convention month hit their lowest level in nearly a decade. The average rate is the highest ever for May, the biggest jump since rates collapsed in 2001 and the fifth straight monthly rise.

"It's been a buyers' market for three years and that is definitely no longer the case," says Greg Saunders, managing director at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.
Occupancy rates at downtown hotels started recovering more than a year ago from 2002's rock-bottom levels (Crain's, Aug. 2). In May, occupancy averaged 79.2%, up from 75.3% last May and 68.2% in May 2002.

Despite increased demand, low prices lingered in part because the city's hotels are so dependent on conventions, which negotiate room prices years in advance and locked in the lower rates of 2002 and 2003, says Ted Mandigo, an Elmhurst-based hotel consultant. Group business accounts for about 55% of downtown hotel bookings, Mr. Mandigo says.

The city's convention industry has suffered not only from the post-Sept. 11 downturn but also from the loss of large gatherings, such as the splintered National Hardware Show, to other cities. But recent data from the Tourism Bureau suggests attendance at the shows that remain may rise next year.

As of April, convention visitors had booked 1.9 million hotel rooms for 2006. That's well ahead of the 1.8 million rooms booked by April 1999 for conventions in 2000, when conventioneers purchased a record 2.1 million hotel rooms in Chicago.

For now, individual business and leisure travelers are bearing the brunt of the price hikes.

At Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.'s five downtown hotels — a Sheraton, two Westins and two Ws — convention room rates were essentially flat at $191 in May, while individual travelers' rates jumped 21% from the previous May to $198.35, says Michael Smith, Starwood's director of sales and marketing in Chicago. In 2002, room rates were $190.00 for group business, and $166.00 for individual travelers.

"The commercial business traveler, he's paying a lot more than a year ago," says Mr. Smith, who expects convention room rates to rise 5% to 7% during 2006.

©2005 by Crain Communications Inc.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 01:14 PM   #139
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Evolution of a block
On West Washington Street, a microcosm of downtown Chicago's transformation

July 18, 2005
By Daniel Rome Levine (Crain's Chicago)

In the 1980s, John Castro used to stop in the Illinois Bell Telephone building at 212 W. Washington St. to pay the family's phone bill. Now he works there as the doorman of the building, which was converted to condos in 1999. Photo: Erik Unger

John Castro has been visiting 212 W. Washington St. for 20 years. In the 1980s, he used to stop in the Illinois Bell Telephone building to drop off his family's phone bill payments.

Today he works there, opening doors for residents of the 21-story condominium building.

Mr. Castro, 28, has been an eyewitness to a microcosm of the transformation of downtown Chicago, which in the past 10 years has seen a massive influx of homeowners, changing the dynamics of the neighborhood and dramatically altering the commercial real estate landscape.

Mr. Castro remembers that stretch of Washington, between Franklin and Wells streets, as rundown and lifeless. Dominated by the phone company's sprawling office on one side and the historic Hotel LaSalle parking garage on the other, "it felt cold," Mr. Castro recalls.

Looking up and down the block today, Mr. Castro sees a dry cleaner, a convenience store and a corner sandwich shop. An estimated 800 people now live there. "It feels more like a neighborhood," he says.

'NO MAN'S LAND'

The Washington Street block's renovation is a prime example of how the "western end of the Loop changed very radically at the end of the 20th century," says Tim Samuelson, Chicago's cultural historian.

The biggest change: converting the old Illinois Bell building, which occupied the entire north side of the street with 700,000 square feet of office space, to condominiums in 1999.

Over the course of two years, from 1997 to 1998, President Cal Boender of Elmhurst-based Historic Homes bought for $13 million from SBC Communications Inc. the two buildings that made up the phone company offices, 208 and 212 W. Washington St., and an adjacent vacant parcel.

He sank $35 million into converting 212 W. Washington into condos and sold 208 W. Washington to another developer, Concord Homes. He built a parking garage on the vacant parcel.

Robert Mollers, a retired Chicago school teacher, was among the first to move into one of the 183 units at 212 W. Washington in March 2000. "It was a no man's land," says Mr. Mollers, who recalls walking several blocks to Union Station every Sunday just to buy a newspaper.

He didn't have to make the trek for long. Soon after he moved in, a 7-Eleven opened in the landmark Washington Block building across the street, replacing a Chinese restaurant.

In the past five years, 7-Eleven has stocked up on items such as frozen dinners, beer and wine to meet the demands of the local residents. Its weekend business has doubled.

'NEW PEOPLE EVERY DAY'

On the residential side, property values at 212 W. Washington have increased 58% since 1999; three-bedroom, 1,500-square-foot condos that sold for $300,000 six years ago are now selling for as much as $472,500.

In November 2001, CVS Corp. leased 7,280 square feet directly across from the 7-Eleven. A dry cleaner, a Dunkin' Donuts and two sandwich shops have since followed.

Amyn Aladin, manager of the Dunkin' Donuts that bought a 1,000-square-foot space on the block three months ago, says business has been slow but is improving. "We're getting new people every day," he says.

Across the street, Martin Stern of U.S. Equities Realty is trying to sell the 22,000-square-foot lot that used to be the Hotel LaSalle garage. The building, reputed to be the country's first multilevel parking garage, was recently demolished. A condo building is a possibility there, too, Mr. Stern says.

"The whole block is going to feel better, as will the entire east-west corridor to City Hall," he says. "West Washington Street is not going to be a second stepchild anymore."

©2005 by Crain Communications Inc.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 01:15 PM   #140
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High-speed high-rises stagger Streeterville

By Kathy Bergen and John Handley

Tribune staff reporters
Published July 17, 2005

Streeterville residents are not a naive bunch.

They moved into their condos and apartments knowing they would share their turf with hordes of tourists bound for Michigan Avenue or Navy Pier or Millennium Park. And they knew that the patchwork of surface parking lots dotting the landscape would eventually give way to more high-rises, and that those new skyscrapers, ranging from 26 to 65 stories, would block some spectacular views.

Still, many are reeling at the sheer volume of high-rise residential development storming their way at the southern end of the neighborhood. Within the next five years, another 13 high-rises will go up in the area wedged between Michigan Avenue and the lake, and Chicago Avenue and the river. That will boost the supply of apartments and condominiums by more than a third, to 12,523 units.

The building boom could bring another 5,250 residents to a neighborhood already housing 13,535, according to some estimates.

"Streeterville had been a totally overlooked sub-market, but now it's hot," said Gail Lissner, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors.

"The new wave of Streeterville development has started," said Daniel McLean, president of MCL Cos., which already has built three residential high-rises and plans two more. "We're halfway."

The speed of change is making some residents sweat.

"It seems kind of overwhelming," said Deborah Mitchell, a marketing consultant who owns a one-bedroom condo on East Ohio. "The numbers I've heard seem staggering."

The concerns weighing on the neighborhood are many. What will happen to already-congested traffic, to panoramic views, to property values? What will happen to the character of the neighborhood, to the way it feels to walk down the street?

"Most people who live in the area find this a good place to live," said James Houston, president of the Streeterville Organization for Active Residents (SOAR). "Our concern is that if we get excessive density and begin to approach the feel of Midtown Manhattan, we may begin to see a decline in interest in living in this area. I don't think we're there yet, but we need to consider this as development proceeds in the future."

Not everyone wary

"Parking lots are not the best use of space," said Connie Buscemi, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Planning and Development. "This is a high-density corridor, and people want to live there because there is so much to do."

An increase in residents should spell big business for the stores on North Michigan Avenue. Streeterville residents "shop locally, and that's part of the reason North Michigan Avenue has been a phenomenal success," said John Maxson, president and chief executive of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association.

The area was zoned for high-rise development 20 years ago, noted Ald. Burton Natarus (42nd).

"We've been struggling to negotiate with developers, on a volunteer basis, to reduce the size and alter the projects," Natarus said. "Also, we've been working with SOAR on their neighborhood plan, which does not have the effect of law but gives ideas on how to change."

The plan urges developers to preserve historic elements, maximize street-level natural light, use architectural screening on above-ground parking, and include landscaped areas in new developments, among other things.

Still, random chats with neighborhood residents indicate many harbor concerns, the biggest ones centering on traffic.

On summer evenings, traffic can gel into gridlock, especially when there are special events in the area, said Stephen Daniels, a legal researcher who owns a condo on East Ohio as a second family home.

On such nights, "traffic-wise, it's almost unbearable," he said. "And with what's on the books, it will only increase."

The city is trying to be proactive on the issue, said Brian Steele, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation.

For instance, the city is considering a $4 million program to coordinate the timing of all traffic signals in Streeterville so they will work in sequences tailored to meet the traffic flow needs at peak times. The program is expected to go into effect next year.

Within Streeterville, there is no room to build new roads or expand existing ones, "so our goal is to manage the capacity we have," Steele said.

The city also works with developers to come up with ways to prevent traffic problems, he said.

Views indefinite

Then there's the issue of views.

Many residents understand that the views they've enjoyed will not last forever.

"If I really wanted a view of the lake, I would have paid for a place with a lake view," Daniels said. "I can't complain because I'm not paying a premium for a view."

Others are less sanguine.

Law student Shaun Raad and his girlfriend, attorney Amanda Feltman, would consider moving from their 35th-floor one-bedroom apartment on East Ohio if a planned development to the east should block their view of Navy Pier, Raad said.

The couple also has grown attached to a small, temporary park about a block from their home, where they take their 10-week-old golden retriever, Wrigley.

"It's beautiful and we've met tons of people here," Raad said as he walked Wrigley through the landscaped patch between Illinois Street and Grand Avenue, near Peshtigo Court.

"We've been told they are going to put up condos here," he said.

In fact, it's something of a neighborhood joke, he said.

"People say, `That's what we need around here. More condos,'" he said. "You can't look around without seeing more condo ads."

Two residential high-rises are planned for the site, but a permanent park will be built between the new buildings, the city said.

The volume of units coming on the market has other residents concerned.

"Basic economics tell you if there is oversupply, it will depress prices," said Mitchell, the marketing consultant who lives on East Ohio. She also is an adjunct marketing professor at the University of Chicago.

Others say there will be sufficient demand since the build-up will be gradual.

"I do not see a glut with new buildings half-empty," said Gail Spreen, who is vice president of the Streeterville residents organization and who sells and rents residential properties in the area.

Boomers drive boom

Real estate analyst Steven Friedman, president of S.B. Friedman Co., said he does not expect prices to drop as a result of the building boom.

"Strong Baby Boomer demographics are underlying the strength of the downtown housing market," he said.

"Boomers are emptying out of the suburbs and moving downtown. They especially want larger and higher-quality units," Friedman said.

The Streeterville organization does have some concerns about aesthetics.

The group is encouraging developers "to create a contiguous feel, from one building to the next and from one block to the next, and to create as much green space as possible," said Spreen, who is chairman of the group's Neighbors Action Task Force, which works with developers.

The group also is advocating for loading docks with adequate space, underground parking, and street-level facades with windows, and in some cases, retail.

"We really don't want this to be like a concrete jungle," said Spreen.

So far, the group has found developers responsive, she said.

"I feel very optimistic," she said. "I think the developers appreciate what a great location this is, and that the projects will be there for the long-term."

- - -

Slices of Streeterville history

In 1834, what is now St. Clair Street was the shore of Lake Michigan and aptly named Sand Street.

In 1886, "Capt." George Wellington Streeter ran his steamboat, Reutan, aground on a sandbar between what is now Superior Street and Chicago Avenue. "Cap" Streeter filled in the area between the shore and his vessel with Chicago Fire debris, calling his settlement the "District of Lake Michigan."

By 1889, Streeter and his common-law wife, Maria, were evicted from the land only to return. By the following year, combat opened between police and residents of the District, which had become home to prostitutes, gamblers, drunks and assorted other undesirables.

The early 1900s saw an influx of factories and warehouses into the south end of the area. The North Pier Terminal stands as a reminder of the neighborhood's past.

The 1920 opening of the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Chicago River created the prime real estate now known as Streeterville.

Though Streeter died in 1921, his nieces and nephews continued to lay claim to the land until a court ruling awarded the area to Chicago Title and Trust.

Streeter's home, by the way, was on the site now occupied by the John Hancock Center.Sources: Chicago Public Library, Chicago Tribune, Encyclopedia of Chicago, RedEye, Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, Wikipedia

Sources: Chicago Public Library, Chicago Tribune, Encyclopedia of Chicago, RedEye, Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, Wikipedia

- - -

No small, no slow plans

Real estate developers have big plans to transform Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood into a high-rise haven by erecting numerous condos that will alter the city skyline and increase the population density in the area.

NAME DEVELOPER STORIES UNITS PRICE PER CONDO UNIT
150 E. Ontario Monaco Development 51 160 N/A
345 E. Ohio Golub & Co. 49, 51 901 N/A
550 N. St. Clair Sutherland 26 112 From high $200,000s to
Pearsall Development nearly $2 million
Avenue East Residential Homes 27 133 From mid-$200,000s to
of America $1 million plus
CityFront Plaza Centrum Properties 40,65,31 281* From mid-$300,000s*
600 N. Fairbanks Urban R2 Development 41 224 From $310,000;
penthouses,
$1.6 million to
$1.9 million
600 N. Lake Shore Belgravia Group and 40, 46 400 From high $300,000s
Sandz Development to $1.7 million
Park View MCL 47 270 From $425,900
Name unknown MCL 25 210 N/A
Name unknown LR Development N/A N/A N/A
*Units and prices for 31-story building only
EXISTING LANDMARKS (stories)
John Hancock Center (100)
Water Tower Place (74)
Tribune Tower (34)
NBC Tower (37)
Lake Point Tower (70)
Sources: The developers
Chicago Tribune/Van Tsui and Keith Claxton


----------

kbergen@tribune.com

jhandley@tribune.com
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