The vacant Old Main Post Office that hovers over the Eisenhower Expressway is about to be converted from a dilapidated civic embarrassment into a bevy of construction activity.
Five months after Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s bold threat to seize control of the giant hulk, the city has reached a court-approved agreement with its new owner, 601W Companies LLC, to begin a five-year, $500 million renovation and restoration.
Strict and staggered deadlines have been set through 2018 to correct more than 20 code violations cited by the city since 2012. The work also will include: replacing the building’s massive roof; restoring its historic lobby; repairing building facades; new high-speed elevators; and overhauling the electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation systems.
Only after that nitty-gritty work is done can the decaying building be converted into commercial office space expected to house up to 12,000 people. The construction project alone is expected to take about 1,500 building trades workers.
After the three-phase renovation, it is hoped tenants will be drawn to a strategically located building with 18-foot ceilings and wide-open floor plans of up to 250,000 square feet per floor.
The final product also will include a landscaped riverwalk open to the public and a 3-acre rooftop park.
Seems like a major step for the northwest side of the Sloop. We've learned to temper our excitement for this building over the year and will continue to do that. Seems like progress, but we will see.
(Hat tip: FD!)