Monday, July 25, 2011

Ambitiously Unrealistic Plans Unveiled for Old Post Office

In case you missed the story late last week, we wanted to do a post on the ambitious plans for the old Post Office that spans Congress Parkway and sits on the Northwest corner of what we consider the South Loop.

The amazing plans are ambitious and seem unreasonably optimistic to us. Just take a look at the numbers:

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.

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
Simply amazing to think something like this is even being proposed right now. Although it seems highly unlikely that this could happen, it would be a game changer. This complex would drastically change the dynamic of the city shifting much more attention and development to the Southwest area of the Loop.

The one thing that could give this a shot in the arm would be a casino. There has been a lot of talk about where a casino should go and if this complex could house it, our guess is that it would help make this more realistic. Regardless, it doesn't seem very feasible and we would be amazed to see it happen.

If it does, it would impact the Sloop in ways we can't even imagine. The amount of people that this type of complex would attract would mean a ton of new people invading the surrounding neighborhoods (which is ours). It could be a good thing or it could be bad thing depending on how you feel about the growth of the neighborhood. Realistically we doubt we will ever know because we can't imagine this project really happening. Only time will tell. has a good video summarizing the story:

(Hat tip: Jack G!)


Matt said...

I missed it the first time I looked at the plans, but the developer stated that he has entered into contracts to purchase additional nearby properties. Looking at the plans, it looks like one of these properties is the undeveloped land at Harrison and Wells. Since the Casino isnt currently in the plans, we could be looking at the actual casino property being on our side of the river, just north of River City.

While I love the idea of retail, hotel and residential development for this area, I think this is something we need to be cautious about endorsing as a neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

No. Casino.

Anonymous said...

David Greising at the Chicago News Cooperative/New York Times does a good takedown of how impossible and lunatic this proposal is ... . That combined with this guy's track record -- big plans, little to show for it -- means nothing is gonna happen there for a LONG time.

Developer J Paul Beitler in the article sums it: “Davies has gone way beyond what anyone would call a visionary,” Mr. Beitler said. “This is a guy who is hallucinating.”

Apparently some of the things he is proposing would be nearly impossible. The skyscraper he's proposing is so near Sear/Willis Tower that it would create a wind vacuum that would suck windows out of both buildings.

Anonymous said...

Yes Casino=Jobs and revenue

Anonymous said...

No casino.
Jobs at any cost is NOT what we need.
Atlantic City, NJ and Hammond IN are not places I want to live. How would a casino NOT bring in crime and bad elements. History says it will.

Oh and yes this Brit is a lunatic. I am all for grand plans, but make them beautiful and compelling, not a destination for suburbanites to drive. Get out of your bubble and walk on the sidewalks. The 80's are over.

Vaca said...

I kind of like the "instant sterilization" + suburbanites driving in + casino thing. I'll chip in twenty bucks.

Anonymous said...

Hammond has been a bad town long before the casino was there.

CarmenRH said...

I dread this project starting enough to conjest our roads and sidewalks, then stalling out and leaving residents to contend with ugly, empty hulks, similar to the abandoned concrete monolith at Clark & Wacker.