“After paying $240 million for Chicago’s famous Tribune Tower in 2016, co-developers CIM Group and Golub & Company are finally ready to take the wraps off their multiyear conversion of the landmark 1925 neo-Gothic skyscraper into luxury condominiums. Urbanize Chicago was invited for a sneak peek of the renovation project, overseen by architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz.
“The tour began in the development’s more contemporary lobby off of Illinois Street. This area led to a bank of elevators for the northern wing of the Tribune complex (the former WGN TV building), which has received a four-story vertical addition to house more condos. From there, a longer-than-expected hallway lined with art zig-zagged southwest to the tower’s historic Michigan Avenue lobby.
“Home to the ‘Hall of Inscriptions’ featuring quotes about the press from Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, and others, this lobby is mostly untouched since it was the only interior portion of the building included in the property’s landmark designation. The only noticeable changes are some new lounge furniture and more art. According to the development team, the entire project contains $1 million worth of custom commissioned artwork.
“Next, we headed to the third-floor amenity level. Here, the so-called ‘great room’ includes a large kitchen for entertaining and multiple seating areas that can be used to socialize or work. One such nook, dubbed ‘McCormick’s study,’ has the original fireplace salvaged from the 24th-floor office of former Chicago Trib owner Col. Robert McCormick.
“The next stop was the tower’s striking 25th-floor amenity level which is home to a curving terrace that wraps nearly 360 degrees around the building’s crown. The space offers outdoor seating, grilling stations, an herb garden, and impressive views of the city and lake between the tower’s Gothic flying buttresses. The interior of the 25th floor includes additional lounge seating, a full catering kitchen, and a place to eat if your picnic on the terrace suddenly gets rained out.
“The amenities keep going on the seventh floor, where residents can enjoy a south-facing sun deck behind the iconic ‘Chicago Tribune’ sign and more outdoor grilling stations. This space overlooks Pioneer Court, which is in the midst of its own makeover as part of the Tribune Tower redevelopment. The seventh floor’s 75-foot indoor lap pool was still under construction during our walk-through, so snapping photos was off-limits. We also swung by the second-floor fitness center, spa, locker rooms, golf simulator, and indoor putting green.
“Construction work is ongoing at the tower’s base, which will reopen as new retail space. CIM and Golub have already secured a long-term commitment from the Museum of Ice Cream to occupy 13,000 square feet in the tower. Crews are also putting the finishing touches on renovations to Nathan Hale Court along Michigan Avenue. The famous bronze statue of Nathan Hale will be making a return to his namesake courtyard, but poor Mr. Hale is currently entombed in a wooden box marked ‘top-heavy.'” (Koziarz, Urbanize Chicago, 10/15/21)