Thursday, January 28, 2016

New Proposal for the Old Post Office

Another major development announcement (via Curbed):
After months of silence, British developer Bill Davies has come forward with a new plan for Chicago's Old Main Post Office — rental units. The behemoth Art Deco building has been the focus of numerous plans, partnerships and potential sales since it was purchased by Davies in 2009 for $24 million. However, this week, a new plan for 1,500 apartments and a new tower addition have emerged for the Chicago landmark. According to Ellen Phillips, managing broker of Loop Apartments, Davies' International Property Developers North America Inc. is currently looking to gauge interest in the plan for new apartments at the site. If there is enough demand and interest in the proposal, Davies could start building rental units in the old post office building as early as this coming March. IPDNA is also seeking large-scale retail anchors for the major redevelopment, simply titled Olde Chicago Post Office. One suggestion would be a retailer like IKEA, which the post office building could certainly accommodate.

It appears to be a hot topic because the building was also featured in a recent article on  If you're not familiar with the situation, it's a good article that sums up the situation:
Is one empty building really that big a deal? Yes, when it represents 2.7 million square feet of premium real estate. The art deco leviathan sits on the Chicago River at Van Buren Street, right at the border of the West Loop and South Loop, two neighborhoods exploding with development. With Metra tracks and the Eisenhower Expressway running beneath it and Union Station only two blocks north, it also would make a desirable hub for a high-speed rail system. “Sitting and waiting for something to happen at that building was easier when the economy lacked traction,” says MarySue Barrett, president of the Metropolitan Planning Council. “Sitting and waiting is not acceptable now.”

It goes on to answer some other questions, but finishes with what's next:
So what happens next? Davies is going to have to do at least one thing soon: pay $350,000 in back property taxes or risk eventually losing the site. Martin Mulryan, his project manager, insists that the bill will be settled in April and that preliminary work—demolishing an old mail-sorting facility next door—could start in early 2016. Just don’t expect Davies to be easily intimidated by local politicians. Notes Mulryan: “The equivalent of an alderman in the U.K. doesn’t have as much responsibility or involvement in projects as they do in the U.S.”

Should be interesting if this gets any traction...we have our doubts

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