LOSS: After Three Years, High-Rise Proposed at Site of Demolished D.H. Burnham Building

New Development Proposed for 1217 W. Washington Blvd. Rendering Credit: Pappageorge Haymes
Chicago Machinery Exchange building, D. H. Burnham & Company, 1217-1227 W. Washington Boulevard, Built 1910, Demolished 2018. Photo Credit: Gabriel X. Michael
Chicago Machinery Exchange building, D. H. Burnham & Company, 1217-1227 W. Washington Boulevard, Built 1910, Demolished 2018. Photo Credit: Gabriel X. Michael

“More West Loop residential development could be on the horizon. DAC Developments submitted a zoning application to build a 19-story, 207-foot residential tower with 288 apartments at 1217 W. Washington Boulevard.

The proposed building replaces a vacant lot currently owned by Peppercorn Capital, which also owns the historic three-story Schukraft Building to the east and an older four-story building to the west. The development site was previously home to a handsome three-story warehouse that was built by legendary Chicago architecture firm D. H. Burnham & Company in 1910 … and demolished in 2018.” (Koziarz, 6/21/21)

Despite a vigorous 11th hour preservation effort in 2018, the orange-rated historic Chicago Machinery Exchange building at 1217-1227 W. Washington Boulevard designed by D. H. Burnham & Company was demolished after the expiration of a 90-Day Demolition Delay hold. Built in 1910, this three-story commercial and industrial building had an outstanding façade with highly decorative ornamentation and an elaborately detailed cornice. The white glazed brick contrasted beautifully with the maroon-colored ornament and arched window openings.

Industrial and commercial buildings of this caliber should be protected by the City of Chicago. This building contributed considerably to the character to the West Loop and at a minimum the highly-intact orange-rated façade should have been preserved and incorporated into the larger redevelopment plan. The City of Chicago must take active step to prevent this “scorched earth” approach to development where the historic building is demolished months, or even years prior to a new development being proposed.

The character of the historic West Loop is under intense pressure from new construction with new buildings under construction ranging from 10 to 20 or even 40 stories, historic two and three story industrial and commercial buildings on big lots are prime targets for demolition and redevelopment. Downzoning would help to immediately reduce development pressure on historic properties.

There is an urgent need for a Greektown/West Loop/Haymarket Square Chicago Landmark District that would recognize, celebrate and protect this wonderful and highly endangered historic neighborhood. This is an amazing assortment of fine quality buildings with strong links to early Chicago industrialists such as John Glessner and manufacturing, to labor history including the Haymarket riots, and ethnic histories ties to Greek-American settlements. Preservation Chicago made this suggestion to Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development Historic Preservation Division. Much like the highly successful Fulton Randolph Chicago Landmark District, a new Landmark District would be a powerful economic stimulus, increase tourism, and protect the character of this neighborhood by protecting its built environment.

Read the full story at Urbanize Chicago

19-story tower with 288 residential units pitched for vacant West Loop lot; The proposal is slated for a site previously occupied by historic warehouse designed by D.H. Burnham & Company, Jay Koziarz, Urbanize Chicago, 6/21/21

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