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Old October 14th, 2009, 04:37 AM   #101
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...,6037538.story

Old post office building back on the block
Post office hopes to strike a deal with runner-up bidders

By Melissa Harris

Tribune reporter

6:00 p.m. CDT, October 13, 2009

The U.S. Postal Service will turn to other bidders from its August auction of the city's old post office in the hopes of finding a buyer for the behemoth building, a spokesman for the government agency said late Tuesday.

Mark Reynolds, the spokesman, said that British developer Bill Davies, who had won the auction with a bid of $40 million, is no longer a potential buyer. Asked whether the postal service would return Davies' $4 million deposit, Reynolds said, "It does not look that way."

Reynolds said the post office hopes to announce a buyer by the end of October.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Davies said, "I'm on the other line. No comment."

The runner-up bidder at the August auction was Nathaniel Hsieh, a Chicago attorney, who said he wanted to use the purchase of the building to help his foreign investors obtain visas through a federal program.

Hsieh said Tuesday that rather than exercise the back-up contract he had on the property, the postal service is mailing a letter to all of the auction participants to solicit new bids.

"It's an outrage," he said. "We're filing a complaint in morning. It's unfair."

The property, located on W. Van Buren Street, straddles the Eisenhower Expressway and has been vacant since 1995. It is between the size of McCormick Place and Willis Tower.

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Bill Davies sounds like a bit of a dunce so I don't care much, but just can the PO keep the whole deposit.
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Old October 14th, 2009, 08:12 AM   #102
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A BIT of a dunce? He spent four million bucks for bad press and lots of paperwork for his attorneys. I'd say he's a complete moron. (but that's just me.)
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Old October 14th, 2009, 10:28 PM   #103
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Yeah, who the frack puts a 4 million deposit and a 40 million dollar bid when they don't have the money put together? Especially given this guy's development track record, good riddance, and thanks for the 4 million donation.
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Old October 21st, 2009, 11:10 PM   #104
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After negotiating a revised post-Olympic price, Davies has closed on the purchase.

http://www.chicagorealestatedaily.co...ws.pl?id=35882
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 12:14 AM   #105
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They ended up selling it to the slacker after all. Crap.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 02:19 PM   #106
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Quote:
http://www.suntimes.com/business/roe...eder24.article

Developer taps a Daley in negotiations with city
REAL ESTATE | Law firm of mayor’s brother picked to deliver post office

March 24, 2010

BY DAVID ROEDER [email protected]
Bill Davies, the mysterious British investor who acquired the old Chicago Main Post Office last year, is getting serious about its redevelopment.

How serious? He has hired the law firm Daley & George Ltd. to represent him in negotiations with the city. The "Daley" in the name refers to Michael Daley, the mayor's brother. The "George" is Jack George, who handles most of the firm's real estate work and is an acknowledged expert in zoning.

George quarrels with perceptions that developers hire him to gain access to Mayor Daley and leverage with city planning officials. He said clients trust him to "tell it to them straight" and suggest changes that will ensure a project passes legal and political tests. George said he's turned down work for developments he felt were ill-conceived.

"Every project, certainly all the big ones -- they are scrutinized by so many people and by every community group going," George said. "You have to get the thing approved or not based on merits."

George said Davies is hiring local specialists to help with the massive old post office. Davies got it for $25 million after earlier pledging $40 million to buy it at auction, only to back out of the deal. He has business interests overseas but has failed at several attempts to develop property in Liverpool.

Since becoming a Chicago enigma, Davies has declined interviews and issued just a single statement promising to "re-energize the property as a focal point and a destination." George said he has yet to see plans for the building. At 2.7 million square feet, the building crosses the Eisenhower Expy. and forms a shabby gateway to downtown.

Davies is "kind of difficult to get a hold of," George said. "He's a nice man. I think he's dedicated to the project."

Ald. Robert Fioretti, whose 2nd Ward includes the old post office, said he's due to discuss details with Davies during the first week of April. Fioretti said talks with Davies or his representatives so far have involved housekeeping matters, such as scaffolding on the exterior and issues related to multiple rail lines into the property. Some people have suggested the building is well-situated for high-speed rail.

Fioretti said Davies has spoken about tackling the Harrison Street side of the building first, renovating it for parking and retail space, and perhaps adding to the number of residences from an earlier plan. In 2008, Walton Street Capital wanted to include a hotel and 300 condominiums in the building, but the project never advanced. "I believe Davies will come out with a very bold plan," Fioretti said.

The developer also will be asking for a city subsidy, another issue involving Daley & George. The firm is working on similarly complex real estate, such as the proposed Chicago Spire on the lakefront and the proposed renovation of Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower. Also, George is the lawyer for the receiver running the Block 37 retail complex, which is in foreclosure.

Last year, Davies discussed the post office job with the architectural firm Gensler. The firm has large operations in London and Chicago and is known for its interior design. Gensler's regional managing principal in Chicago, Lamar Johnson, said he'd love to be involved, but "I haven't seen hide nor hair of him since then."




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Old March 24th, 2010, 08:09 PM   #107
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The developer also will be asking for a city subsidy, another issue involving Daley & George. The firm is working on similarly complex real estate, such as the proposed Chicago Spire on the lakefront and the proposed renovation of Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower. Also, George is the lawyer for the receiver running the Block 37 retail complex, which is in foreclosure.
Yeesh, what a heck of a portfolio to have right now - three floundering projects??
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Old March 24th, 2010, 10:37 PM   #108
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Davies is "...kind of difficult to get ahold of." Maybe he is hiding out with Garret Kelleher.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 10:54 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by simulcra View Post
Yeesh, what a heck of a portfolio to have right now - three floundering projects??
Just a function of numbers. Daley & George probably does 80 percent of the PD and downtown rezoning work.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 12:35 PM   #110
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Quote:
http://www.suntimes.com/business/roe...eder21.article

Old post office plans: New York architect in the mix
REAL ESTATE | Firm worked on one Chicago project: 190 S. La Salle building

April 21, 2010

BY DAVID ROEDER Sun-Times Columnist
Bill Davies, the moneyed mystery man from Britain who owns the old Chicago Main Post Office, is in town this week concerning a redevelopment of the huge building at 433 W. Van Buren. He hasn't spoken with reporters since getting the property last fall for $25 million, but a few details are sneaking out.

One is that he has hired for the assignment a New York architectural firm that traces its lineage to the late Philip Johnson, who used classical decoration to dress up the glass-box style associated with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The firm is Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects.

Principal Alan Ritchie worked on the firm's one Chicago development, the 190 S. LaSalle building that opened in 1987.

Ritchie said he's been working on the post office site for a couple of months. "We're just exploring the possibilities," which he said include adding to some sections of the building. He declined to say if Davies wants to add a tower to the structure, now 14 stories at its tallest points. But Ritchie said that's one way of making a "signature statement" with the building.

Also, a source said Davies has hired Howard Blair, president of Chicago-based Development Resources Inc., as project manager. Blair did not return a call.

There's no project yet for him to manage. Davies still has to draft plans that pass muster with city officials and community groups. I reported last month that Davies has hired the connected law firm Daley & George Ltd. to help smooth the City Hall waters.

If Davies is serious, I wouldn't be surprised to see him take on more partners with Chicago credentials. One possibility would be developer John Buck, who worked with the Johnson-Ritchie firm on the 190 S. LaSalle building.
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Old March 27th, 2011, 02:27 PM   #111
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http://www.chicagojournal.com/News/0...oking_for_more

Post office buyer looking for more

03/09/2011 10:00 PM

The developer who bought the Old Main Post Office building on Congress Parkway is building on his investment.

Bill Davies, the British developer who bought the 3 million square foot building at auction from the U.S. Postal Service in 2009 for roughly $24 million, has bought a building next door for about $14 million, according to Crain’s Chicago Real Estate Daily.

The building, just to the east of the post office, was also owned by the Postal Service.

Crain’s speculated that the building’s land could be used to build a new ramp to the Old Main building from Congress Parkway.
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Old March 28th, 2011, 04:56 AM   #112
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Hmm, will be kind of disappointing if he decides to tear it down, and it would prove to be one expense ramp, to boot! That's a nice, traditional Chicago warehouse on the SE corner -- and there aren't too many of those left in the Loop district. Plus it would be a huge loss to the Harrison street-scape if it get's replaced with a mere ramp. Not to mention, when I was at the main Post Office during Christmas, I could've sworn USPS were still using that building as I saw trucks driving in and out of the building. Hopefully the developer will find a use for it - maybe he can incorporate it into his plans for the post office building itself. Actually, he might be able to use the building as a parking garage and just build a bridge/ramp connecting the two buildings on the third floor or so???
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Old March 29th, 2011, 11:00 AM   #113
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I still have no idea what the plan is for this building. Museum of Paper Cuts?
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Old July 21st, 2011, 11:51 PM   #114
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New news today:

Quote:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...,3150609.story

The owner of the Chicago's behemoth old post office building on Thursday unveiled a grandiose plan for redeveloping the long-vacant property and the area around it, including a 2,000-foot skyscraper that would dethrone the Willis Tower as the city's tallest building.

The owner, British developer Bill Davies, promises to transform the area into an "urban mecca" of five residential, office and hotel towers. Yet the three-phase project, which Davis wants to complete in 10 years, faces major economic hurdles, real estate experts said.

Completed in 1932, the post office building was once the world's largest post office. The building, which straddles the Congress Street feeder ramp leading to the Eisenhower Expressway, has been vacant since 1995. It has been the subject of several redevelopment plans, none of which have succeeded.

Davies bought the historic post office building in 2009 for $24.8 million, and is apparently convinced it has a future as something other than a white elephant.

"His concept is that it is not big enough," said Laurence Booth of the Chicago firm Booth Hansen, the designer of the project.

The first phase of the $3.5 billion project calls for converting the inside of the Old Post Office into retail shops and hotel rooms. The west side of the building will house a garage with ramps that would feed directly into Congress Parkway. The Beaux Arts-inspired marble and gold lobby will be restored to its original glory and would serve as the entrance to the shops and a 40-story hotel that would boast views of the Chicago River.

Davies plans to expand the project into three other sites: An empty lot south of West Harrison Street tucked between the Chicago River and South Wells Street; a lot south of Congress Parkway now home to a Holiday Inn and a parking lot; and the site adjacent to the Old Post Office known as the "Sugar House."

He has rights to buy the those properties but has not closed on the deals.

The plan, which was filed with the city on Thursday, is expected to be introduced to the City Council next week. It would then be reviewed by the housing and economic development staff. Typically, such a process can take months.

Once the plan is approved, the company can move with the $450 million first phase within 90 days, said Martin Mulryan, International Property Developers project manager.

Each phase would take three years each to be completed. The second phase, at a cost of about $2 billion, calls for a hotel in the current site of the Holiday Inn and adjacent parking lot, and a 120-story skyscraper at the site of the Sugar House to be used for office, hotel and residential space. The buildings will be raised over a 10 floor platform that would house more retail space.

The final phase calls for the development of the now empty site at the river. It will house 10 floors of retail space and a parking lot. Two 60-story residential towers will be built on top.

All sites will be connected with pedestrian bridges. To connect the site across the river, Davies plans to built a multi-story bridge with space for more retail shops and restaurants.

Peter Strazzabosco, a spokesman for the city's Department of Housing and Economic Development said the developers had met with city staff periodically over the last two years, but declined to comment on the plan or its political prospects.

Booth, the designer of the project, is a well-respected member of Chicago's often-contentious community of architects. But he has never completed anything of this scale.

Booth's finest projects, such as his award-winning renovation of Old St. Patrick's Church at 140 S. Desplaines St., have been considerably smaller. He has designed skyscrapers, however. His largest completed one to date is the 31-story Joffrey Tower at 151 N. State St., which combines retail space, condominiums and the Joffrey Ballet's offices and studios.

Booth also is no stranger to controversial skyscraper plans -- and to the difficulty in getting them built.

In 2007, along with developers James Klutznick and Tim Anderson, he unveiled his design for a 49-story, glass-sheathed condominium tower in north suburban Evanston. At 523 feet, it would have been the tallest building in Chicago's suburbs.

But many Evanston residents argued that the tower would be an over-scaled monstrosity and would uproot local merchants. In response, the plans were dramatically downscaled and in 2009, Evanston approved a downtown height limit of 35 stories.

The project has yet to break ground.

Davies, who has appeared on the Times of London's list of England's richest people, bought a dilapidated post office in 1986 in Liverpool, England and sold it 16 years later in the same condition, angering local politicians.

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Old July 22nd, 2011, 02:11 AM   #115
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More on this:

Quote:
Chicago Real Estate Daily

Skyscrapers, retail part of massive Old Post Office plan

By: Alby GallunJuly 21, 2011


(Crain's) — The owner of the Old Main Post Office has unveiled an audacious plan to transform the hulking structure and surrounding properties into a massive complex spanning the Chicago River that would include a shopping center, hotels, more than 1,000 residential units and the tallest skyscraper in North America.

The 120-story tower is the centerpiece of a $3.5-billion, 16-million-square-foot development proposed by Bill Davies, the Englishman who paid $24 million two years ago for the post office, an empty landmark structure that straddles the Congress Parkway on the west side of the river.

“He sees this as a gateway to the city,” says Martin Mulryan, the project manager overseeing the development.

Mr. Davies aims to create a destination for Midwesterners that will include entertainment, restaurants, shopping — but not a casino, as some observers have expected. Attractions could include theaters and music venues.

Given the project's size, cost and complexity, skeptics will doubt Mr. Davies' ability to pull it off in a real estate market still recovering from the crash of 2008. The development is heavy on retail, currently one of the weakest property sectors.

Yet construction is expected to take 10 years or more and will be phased, allowing the developer to build as demand for space returns, Mr. Mulryan says.

Covering 20 acres, the project would include 6.2 million square feet of retail and entertainment space, 7,500 hotel rooms, 2 million square feet of office space and 3.8 million square feet of residential space, enough for about 1,500 units. It also is to include 12,000 parking spaces that will be free for shoppers.

“That's the idea, to have everything,” says Laurence Booth, principal of Booth Hansen, the Chicago-based architecture firm working on the project. “So people will come from all over — by car, by train, by boat and get everything they want.”

Representatives of Mr. Davies' firm, International Property Developers, submitted documents to the city Thursday afternoon to support zoning changes allowing the development, the beginning of an approval process that could last several months or even years.

Mr. Davies aims to begin construction on the first phase — the redevelopment of the post office building at 433 W. Van Buren St. — within 90 days of receiving city approval. He plans to convert the post office building into retail, parking and hotel space.

In the next phase, he plans to develop a property to the west of the post office, currently the site of a Holiday Inn, into more retail space for big-box retailers and a hotel tower.

He wants to build more retail and the 120-story tower immediately to the east of the post office. A multistory bridge crossing over the Chicago River would connect to another structure that would include yet more retail and two residential towers.

The developer has signed contracts to buy the neighboring properties, but Mr. Mulryan declines to disclose terms. One parcel, on the east side of the river, is listed for $41 million.

At 16 million square feet overall, the proposed project is more than six times the size of a previous redevelopment plan by Chicago-based Walton Street Capital LLC, and bigger than many observers expected. Crain's first reported in June that Mr. Davies' was working on a large project that would include neighboring parcels.

Premium content: Davies' bazaar dream

Mr. Davies saw the Post Office “not as something big, awkward and difficult,” says Mr. Booth, the architect. “He saw this as something not big enough.”

The question is whether he will be able to attract retailers, hotel investors, office tenants and residents to a project on the fringe of downtown Chicago — and then whether he can find lenders to finance the project. The development team has received inquiries from hoteliers and retailers but won't start marketing the project formally until the city signs off on it.

“It's a very ambitious project in the market for a location that's a little off-center,” says Richard Souyoul, president of Chicago-based Souyoul Development Group.

But Mr. Davies is undaunted. “Years ago, there were those who doubted the Museum Campus and those who doubted Lakeshore East or Millennium Park,” Mr. Davies says in a news release. “I would challenge any cynic to look to those developments and then tell me this can't be done. I am confident that with the correct focus and energy and by working in partnership with this great city, that we will achieve our goal.”

The current plan does not include financial assistance from the city in the form of tax-increment financing, a subsidy that developers often seek for complex projects. Yet Mr. Davies hasn't ruled out seeking TIF money for some costs, says his lawyer, Jack George of Daley & George Ltd.

Mr. Davies also doesn't plan to include a casino in the project, a possibility today with a bill to expand gambling in Chicago sitting on Gov. Pat Quinn's desk. “None of this hinges on or has anything to do with a casino,” Mr. Mulryan says.

Though the City Council must ultimately approve Mr. Davies' proposal, he has the support of a key member: Alderman Robert Fioretti (2nd), whose ward includes the post office.

"The plans are appropriately ambitious," he says. " It shows a vision that will transform this critical city gateway."


Read more: http://www.chicagorealestatedaily.co...#ixzz1SmfbaCPX
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 02:23 AM   #116
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A quick look at the site from the negotiations:

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Old July 22nd, 2011, 02:49 AM   #117
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Chicago Tribune

Quote:
Old Chicago post office redevelopment plan unveiled
By Alejandra Cancino and Blair Kamin
Tribune reporters

5:48 p.m. CDT, July 21, 2011



The owner of the Chicago's old post office building on Thursday unveiled a grandiose plan for redeveloping the long-vacant property and the area around it, including a 2,000-foot skyscraper that would dethrone the Willis Tower as the city's and North America's tallest building.

The owner, British developer Bill Davies, promises to transform the area into an "urban mecca" of five residential, office and hotel towers that would draw visitors from around the Midwest. Yet the three-phase project, which Davies wants to complete in 10 years, faces economic hurdles due to the weak economy and still struggling retail sector. "It's a pipe dream -- is it doable?" said Gail Lissner, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors in Chicago.

Completed in 1932, and located at 433 W. Van Buren St., the massive building was once the world's largest post office. The building, which straddles the Congress Street feeder ramp leading to the Eisenhower Expressway, has been vacant since 1995. It has been the subject of several redevelopment plans, including a casino, a water park and an auto mall. None have succeeded.

Davies bought the building in 2009 for $24.8 million, and is apparently convinced it has a future as something other than a white elephant. While Davies doesn't spell out plans for a casino, Lissner said his plans could accommodate one. For now, his vision is for 6.2 million square feet of leisure, retail and entertainment space; 4.1 million square feet of hotels; 2 million square feet of office space; and 3.8 million square feet of residential space ; a total of 16 million square feet. "His concept is that it is not big enough," said Laurence Booth of the Chicago firm Booth Hansen, the designer of the project.

The first phase of the $3.5 billion project calls for converting the inside of the Old Post Office into retail shops and hotel rooms. The west side of the building would house a garage with ramps that would feed directly into Congress Parkway. The Beaux Arts-inspired marble and gold lobby would be restored to its original glory and serve as the entrance to the shops and a 40-story hotel with views of the Chicago River.

Davies plans to expand the project into three other sites: An empty lot south of West Harrison Street tucked between the Chicago River and South Wells Street; a lot south of Congress Parkway now home to a Holiday Inn and a parking lot; and the site adjacent to the Old Post Office known as the "Sugar House." He has rights to buy the those properties but has not closed on the deals. Davies has secured financing for the first phase of the project, but will need financing for the other two phases, said Martin Mulryan, project manager for the Davies-owned International Property Developers.

The plan, which was filed with the city Thursday, requires City Council and Plan Commission approval. If the plan is approved, the company can move ahead with the $450 million first phase within 90 days, Mulryan said. Each phase would take three years each to be completed. The second phase, at a cost of about $2 billion, calls for a 60-story hotel on the current site of the Holiday Inn and adjacent parking lot, plus a 120-story skyscraper at the site of the Sugar House. It would be used for offices, hotel and residential space. The buildings would be raised over a 10-floor platform that would house more retail space.

The final phase calls for the development of the now empty site along the river. It would house 10 floors of retail space and a parking lot, forming a foundation for two 60-story residential towers. All together, the 10-story base would contain parking for 12,000 cars. The majority will free for shoppers. "The only way you are going to get people to come in from the burbs is by car," Booth said.

The 120-story tower would measure 2,000 feet to its roof, making it more than 500 feet taller than the Willis Tower. If built, the tower would top the 1,776-foot One World Trade Center now under construction in New York City. Communications antennas would spring from its roof, generating revenue for the owner. To connect the building's retail spaces on both sides of the river, Davies plans to build a multi-story bridge with space for more retail shops and restaurants. Such a move could prove controversial because it would block views of the river.

Peter Strazzabosco, a spokesman for the city's Department of Housing and Economic Development said the developers had met with city staff periodically over the last two years, but declined to comment on the plan. Davies, who has appeared on the Times of London's list of England's richest people, bought a dilapidated post office in 1986 in Liverpool, England and sold it 16 years later in the same blighted condition, angering local politicians.

The future of Davies' project depends of the ability of companies to create jobs, said Chris Macke, senior real estate strategist for the CoStar Group, a real estate research firm. "If people are hired, more people would stay in hotels, more people would buy condos and rent apartments," Macke said. But Lissner said that while the Davies' plans are ambitious, his multi-phase project would take years to finish and could benefit from an improved economy. Its advantages are that it would sit close to the expressways, the CTA Blue line and Union Station. Despite the tough economic climate, Booth predicted, people will eventually flock to the complex because they have "an insatiable appetite for experience and excitement and places they haven't been."

Experience shows that it is far easier to announce plans for a towering skyscraper than to build one. Another overseas developer, Ireland's Garrett Kelleher, promised to build the 2,000-foot Chicago Spire -- only to see his dream collapse and his creditors file lawsuits demanding millions of dollars in payments. For three years now, construction on the 1,047-foot Waterview Tower at 111 W. Wacker Dr. has been halted at the 26th floor, leaving its exposed concrete skeleton looming over the Chicago River.

Booth is no stranger to controversial skyscraper plans -- and to the difficulty in getting them built. In 2007, along with developers James Klutznick and Tim Anderson, he unveiled his design for a 49-story, glass-sheathed condominium tower in north suburban Evanston. At 523 feet, it would have been the tallest building in Chicago's suburbs. But many Evanston residents argued that the tower would be an over-scaled monstrosity and would uproot local merchants. In response, the plans were dramatically downscaled and in 2009, Evanston approved a downtown height limit of 35 stories.

The project has yet to break ground.

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Old July 22nd, 2011, 06:09 AM   #118
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Even if I were in favour of another supertall proposal for Chicago, I wouldn't want any supertall buillding (especially one that is 2000-ft high) get built near 233 South Wacker Drive. if I wanted that tower built, it would be moved to the old Chicago Spire site. No one can think of any good plans for the Old Post Office site. Throw all those towers out, they're gonna end up being white elephants.
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 10:21 AM   #119
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Sorry but I never want to hear about a 2000' building in Chicago EVER again! 1999' or 2001' is fine by me but 2000' NEVER AGAIN!!!! lol
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 04:39 PM   #120
desertpunk
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Originally Posted by JMHArch View Post
Sorry but I never want to hear about a 2000' building in Chicago EVER again! 1999' or 2001' is fine by me but 2000' NEVER AGAIN!!!! lol
I know, "here we go again", right? If nothing gets done but a rehab of the old post office, I'm happy. Anything else is icing on the cake!
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