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Old April 11th, 2007, 06:50 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by geoff_diamond View Post
Okay, so, now that some of the beans have been spilled - I'll try to do my best to fill in some information (as much as I can without getting fired).

I've been working on this project for a couple of weeks and here's what we know so far: the current scheme involves hotel, office, residential and retail components. The old loading areas and some of the mail handling areas on the lower floors will be used for parking; half of the building that spans Congress (between the four corner towers) is going to be removed with the hotel component filling the remainder. That's about all I can comfortably say for now - I'll keep updating as it seems appropriate to do so.
Wow, that's pretty exciting stuff....this development could have an ENORMOUS impact!
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Old April 11th, 2007, 05:08 PM   #22
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Not to mention that this particular corner of the Loop could use some spiffing up.
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Old April 11th, 2007, 05:55 PM   #23
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Not to mention that this particular corner of the Loop could use some spiffing up.
Speaking of this particular corner of the Loop, does anyone have any idea of what the status is for Wacker Plaza? (on the SE corner of Wacker and Van Buren)
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Old April 12th, 2007, 02:59 AM   #24
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spyguy - the massing looks to be pretty much the same in terms of what's going to be removed and what's going to stay - but, other than that, alot has changed.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 03:48 AM   #25
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Speaking of this particular corner of the Loop, does anyone have any idea of what the status is for Wacker Plaza? (on the SE corner of Wacker and Van Buren)
The same as the status for every other moderately-sized office project in the West Loop - it needs tenants. Once it gets some, you can bet they'll start construction within 3 or 4 months.

Right now, there's not too much of an active demand for office space in the Loop. Yes, brand-new Class A office space does sell, but many times, they are filling with companies simply moving out of older buildings.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 11:39 AM   #26
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spyguy - the massing looks to be pretty much the same in terms of what's going to be removed and what's going to stay - but, other than that, alot has changed.

800,000 square feet of building space will be removed and they're going for LEED certification. The greatest impact will be fom the west. Visually, driving east on the IKE will never be the same.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 05:19 PM   #27
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800,000 square feet of building space will be removed and they're going for LEED certification. The greatest impact will be fom the west. Visually, driving east on the IKE will never be the same.
I'm surprised to learn that such a huge chunk can be removed from a landmarked Art Deco structure.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 01:36 AM   #28
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It's amazing what can happen to a huge downtown building after it's been vacant FOR 11 YEARS.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 10:12 AM   #29
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Plan for huge former post office considered

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

Plan for huge former post office considered

By Alexa Aguilar
Tribune staff reporter
Published April 18, 2007, 9:22 PM CDT

The old Chicago Post Office, a behemoth that spans the Eisenhower Expressway and two city blocks, is so large that developers have struggled for almost a decade to come up with a workable plan for the vacant space.

On Thursday, 11 years after the U.S. Postal Service moved its operations to a newer facility nearby, the city's Plan Commission will consider a proposal to convert the building's 2.5 million square feet of empty space to a sprawling project of hotel rooms, offices and residences. Previously, different developers have proposed creating a mausoleum, a casino, an auto mall and a water park in the Art Deco-style building.

The latest renovation plan, supported by city officials, includes removing more than a million square feet from the building's center to create a north tower for office space, a south tower for residences, a 240-room hotel facing the Chicago River, 400 parking spaces and a green rooftop terrace.

Walton Street Capital LLC, the real estate investment firm that came up with the proposal, has pitched idea after idea to prospective tenants and hoteliers over the years. The firm first indicated its interest in the space to the Postal Service in 1998.

But the building's size, its historic designation and its proximity to nearby railroad tracks and the expressway have stalled the project repeatedly.

"It's a fascinating project, if we can pull it off," said Raphael Dawson, a partner at Walton Street.

The city will likely kick in subsidies, in the form of a tax-increment-financing grant, for Walton Street, said Constance Buscemi, a spokeswoman for the city's Planning Department. She declined to provide specific numbers.

"We've been working with them on this for quite some time," Buscemi said.

The plan takes a "grand, old building" and gives it a new purpose, she said.

The 10-story building, once the world's largest post offices, is on the National Register of Historic Places. First built in 1921 and then transformed with a dramatic expansion in 1932, the building was designed by Graham Anderson Probst & White, the same firm that designed such Chicago landmarks as the Civic Opera House and the Merchandise Mart.

Because of that designation, the proposal needed the approval of the National Park Service, which oversees properties on the national register. Dawson said the park service has given its approval.

David Bahlman, president of Landmarks Illinois, a statewide preservation organization, said he is disappointed there isn't a plan that could save the entire building. The old post office has been on the group's list of most endangered landmarks, he said.

But he acknowledged that the structure's size and location made redevelopment difficult.

"This is a tough, tough project . . . one of the most difficult preservation issues I have ever seen," he said. "It's the poster child for what we call white elephants."

The stalled project garnered the attention of a U.S. Senate subcommittee last year, when Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) used the old Chicago Post Office as an example of surplus federal property that used taxpayers' dollars to maintain vacant space.

It cost the federal government $2 million a year to maintain the building, he said last year.

[email protected]



Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune
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Old April 19th, 2007, 09:16 PM   #30
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2 MILLION? to do what?!? I thought the whole thing was vacant and surrounded by a chain-link fence.
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Old April 20th, 2007, 03:28 AM   #31
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2 MILLION? to do what?!? I thought the whole thing was vacant and surrounded by a chain-link fence.
This is a HUGE buillding! Just because a building is vacant, doesn't mean it costs nothing to maintain. They have to pay for security to ensure the building remains sealed. they probably have to maintain a minimum temp (above freezing) in the winter to prevent structural damage. They have to ensure the roof isn't leaking, because that can contribute very quickly to deterioration. They have to maintain mechanical systems, even if they aren't used. I could go on and on...
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Old April 20th, 2007, 05:14 AM   #32
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Is it safe to assume that this was approved by the plan commission today?
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Old April 20th, 2007, 05:55 AM   #33
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Have you ever heard of Plan Commission not approving anything brought before it?
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Old April 20th, 2007, 05:57 AM   #34
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Plan for huge former post office approved

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

Plan for huge former post office approved

By Alexa Aguilar
Tribune staff reporter
Published April 19, 2007, 5:56 PM CDT

The Chicago Plan Commission today approved a plan to transform the old Central Post Office, a hulking downtown building that looms overhead as drivers zoom through it on the Eisenhower Expressway, into towers of offices, residences and a hotel.

The historic Art Deco building spans two city blocks. It has sat vacant since 1996, when the U.S. Postal Service moved operations to a newer building nearby. Developers were stumped by its bulk, proximity to railroad tracks, the Chicago River and the expressway, and its historic attributes.

The renovation proposal sent today to the City Council for final action would remove 800,000 square feet from the center of the 2.5 million-square-foot building, build a deck and plaza overlooking the Chicago River and preserve the building's soaring lobby and vestibule.

With a big chunk carved out of its center, the renovated property would have a north tower for office space, a south tower for residences, a 240-room hotel facing the Chicago River, 400 parking spaces and a green rooftop terrace.

Walton Street Capital LLC, the real estate investment firm that came up with the current proposal, has pitched idea after idea to prospective tenants and hoteliers over the years. The firm first indicated its interest in the space to the Postal Service in 1998.

"It's a fascinating project, if we can pull it off," said Raphael Dawson, a partner at Walton Street.

The city will likely kick in subsidies, in the form of a tax-increment-financing grant, for Walton Street, said Constance Buscemi, a spokeswoman for the city's Planning Department. She declined to provide specific numbers.

"We've been working with them on this for quite some time," Buscemi said.

The plan takes a "grand, old building" and gives it a new purpose, she said.

The 10-story building, once the world's largest post office, was built in 1921 and transformed in a dramatic expansion in 1932. It was designed by Graham Anderson Probst & White, the same firm that designed such Chicago landmarks as the Civic Opera House and the Merchandise Mart.

David Bahlman, president of Landmarks Illinois, a statewide preservation organization, said he is disappointed there isn't a plan that could save the entire building. The old post office has been on the group's list of most endangered landmarks, he said.

But he acknowledged that the structure's size and location made redevelopment difficult.

"This is a tough, tough project . . . one of the most difficult preservation issues I have ever seen," he said. "It's the poster child for what we call white elephants."

The stalled project garnered the attention of a U.S. Senate subcommittee last year, when Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) used the old Chicago Post Office as an example of surplus federal property that used taxpayers' dollars to maintain vacant space.

It cost the federal government $2 million a year to maintain the building, he said last year.

[email protected]



Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune
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Old April 20th, 2007, 08:19 AM   #35
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can one assume that the lack of pictures and details indicate this is still a very loose concept sorely lacking in detail at this point?
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Old April 20th, 2007, 09:58 AM   #36
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I heard that the "Gotham National Bank" recently moved into part of the Old Post Office. Watch out though, because apparently the Joker and his goons have been wreaking havoc down there...
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Old April 20th, 2007, 09:34 PM   #37
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can one assume that the lack of pictures and details indicate this is still a very loose concept sorely lacking in detail at this point?
Current:


Proposed
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Old April 20th, 2007, 11:58 PM   #38
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This was on SSP

Based on the southloop buildings this looks about a year old. Gives you a great perspective on how huge the roof deck could be. They would have there own park
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Old April 21st, 2007, 12:30 AM   #39
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I heard that the "Gotham National Bank" recently moved into part of the Old Post Office. Watch out though, because apparently the Joker and his goons have been wreaking havoc down there...
Holy, Expressway Overlap!
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Old April 21st, 2007, 12:30 AM   #40
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a picture is worth a thousand words...thanks, Hydrogen
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