Preservation Chicago Month in Review Newsletter Reader

WIN: Chicago Tribune Tower to be Adaptively Reused and “Chicago Tribune” Sign Saved

On April 16, the Tribune Tower development team unveiled their development proposal for the historic Chicago Tribune Tower and a new super tall adjacent building that would be the second tallest in Chicago. Plans are moving forward. The developments will transform the former office complex into 163 new luxury condominiums within the historic tower, retail … Continue reading "WIN: Chicago Tribune Tower to be Adaptively Reused and “Chicago Tribune” Sign Saved"

East Andersonville Downzoned to Protect Neighborhood from Demolition Pressure

In 2017, the beautifully ornamented limestone historic greystone at 1436 W. Berwyn Avenue in East Andersonville was threatened by demolition. A developer had purchased the double lot with plans to replace the building and garden with a six-flat. The lot site was particularly attractive to the developer because the underlying RT-4 zoning allowed for a … Continue reading "East Andersonville Downzoned to Protect Neighborhood from Demolition Pressure"

WIN: Proposed Pilsen Landmark District Receives Preliminary Landmark Status!

After many years of advocacy, outreach and preparation, Preliminary Landmark Status was approved for the proposed Pilsen Chicago Landmark District on December 6, 2018. Pilsen has a dense and varied collection of historic buildings built by Bohemian immigrants in the late 19th century and early 20th century and preserved and enriched by Mexican immigrants over … Continue reading "WIN: Proposed Pilsen Landmark District Receives Preliminary Landmark Status!"

December 2018

WIN: Old Main Post Office Renovation Underway

The redevelopment of the Old Post Office is moving ahead. 601W Companies is the project developer and Gensler is the architecture firm for the massive $600 million renovation plan. According to the Chicago Tribune, renovation of the Post Office represents the single largest redevelopment project in the country. Extensive new amenities will include a three-acre … Continue reading "WIN: Old Main Post Office Renovation Underway"

WIN: Old Cook County Hospital Redevelopment Underway! (Chicago 7 2003 & 2004)

After 15 years of advocacy by Preservation Chicago, Landmarks Illinois, and other preservation partners, the vacant and historic Old Cook County Hospital will be adaptively reused as two hotels and medical offices. Located at 1825 W. Harrison Street, the eight-story Beaux Arts building was designed by architect Paul Gerhardt in 1914 and became a Designated Chicago Landmark … Continue reading "WIN: Old Cook County Hospital Redevelopment Underway! (Chicago 7 2003 & 2004)"

WIN: After Being Mothballed for Nearly 40 Years, Uptown Theatre Restoration Plan Receives City Council Approval!

On November 13, 2018, the Chicago City Council Department of Planning and Development voted to approve the $75 million rehabilitation of the long-vacant Uptown Theatre. After decades of false starts and unfulfilled promises, this marks an important and tangible step forward for the restoration of this magnificent building.   37 years ago, the Uptown Theatre hosted … Continue reading "WIN: After Being Mothballed for Nearly 40 Years, Uptown Theatre Restoration Plan Receives City Council Approval!"

WIN: Chicago Union Station Developers “Completely Revise Their Vision for the Project” (Chicago 7 2018)

After Preservation Chicago declared Chicago Union Station as a 2018 Most Endangered, and following months of extensive advocacy and the avalanche of negative press following the release of the proposed seven-story addition to the top of the Chicago Union Station, the developers Riverside Investment & Development and Convexity Properties revised their vision for the project … Continue reading "WIN: Chicago Union Station Developers “Completely Revise Their Vision for the Project” (Chicago 7 2018)"

WIN: Chicago Union Station Developers “Completely Revise Their Vision for the Project” (Chicago 7 2018)

After Preservation Chicago declared Chicago Union Station as a 2018 Most Endangered, and following months of extensive advocacy and the avalanche of negative press following the release of the proposed seven-story addition to the top of the Chicago Union Station, the developers Riverside Investment & Development and Convexity Properties revised their vision for the project with a low-profile rooftop deck addition. “The decision to jettison the original plan is a major victory for historic preservationists,” wrote Blair Kamin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune.
 
During a well-attended community meeting on June 25, 2018 Ward Miller, Preservation Chicago Executive Director, received an enthusiastic round of applause when he said, “Rooflines, elevations, and interior volumes are protected under the Landmark Ordinance and we think you’re going to step over these lines. We’d like to see no building on top of this amazing station, and instead suggested transferring the additional floors to the new high-rise buildings proposed next door.” (Koziarz, Curbed Chicago, 6/26/18)
 
Ward Miller suggested an alternate approach be to build out an extensive rooftop terrace on the existing Union Station building, which would be directly above the proposed 330-room hotel within the historic office floors. Rooftop restaurants and lounges have proved to be incredibly popular and highly valuable assets for buildings throughout the Loop. Coupled with a hotel below, a series of rooftop restaurants, lounges, and event spaces could become a destination unto itself and powerfully reactivate one of Chicago’s greatest Landmark buildings.
 
Prior to the development plan revisions, Blair Kamin laid out the existential challenge to Chicago Union Station.
 
“When the City of Chicago granted [Union] Station official Landmark status in 2002, it buttressed its case by noting that the station is the last great historic railroad terminal still in use in Chicago; that it’s one of the nation’s most architecturally and historically significant passenger railroad stations, and that its soaring Great Hall is one of the country’s great interior public spaces.”
 
“So the stakes for this forlorn but beloved Landmark, designed by Chicago architects Graham, Anderson, Probst & White and completed in 1925, couldn’t be higher. Which begs this question: Are we stuck with this fourth-rate design or are Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, in whose ward the station sits, going to exercise their considerable clout and push for something better?”
 
Kamin described the proposed rooftop addition as one that “would plunk a squat modernist box atop the existing structure’s neo-classical pedestal. They go together as well as Rauner and Pritzker, the City Council and ethics reform”….“The seven-story addition and its 404 rental apartments would bring to the forlorn but grand train station all the grandeur of a Holiday Inn.”…. “Worse, its exterior, a skeletal metal and glass grid is at odds with the station’s carefully composed classical aesthetic. Despite the architects’ best efforts, it’s as though one era of architecture had been piled, willy-nilly, atop another.”… “The juxtaposition of past and present isn’t as violent as the spaceship-like seating bowl that’s plopped atop the classical colonnades of Soldier Field. It’s just banal, which Burnham buildings never are.”… “[The] addition design for Union Station does not inspire confidence. A building that’s part of the Burnham legacy deserves better, especially when it forms a gateway to Chicago.”