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NEWS 9/18/17

A look at The Old Post Office development

Sixteen months have passed since 601W Companies acquired Chicago’s abandoned Old Main Post Office building from deceased British billionaire Bill Davies and announced plans to convert to hulking structure into 2.5 million square feet of new Class A office space. Since then, the New York-based commercial real estate giant has so far played things close to the vest regarding their exact plans for the sprawling riverfront structure. Though early renderings from project design architect Gensler provided a rough picture of some of the planned improvements, the precise look and scope of the renovation has remained largely a mystery.

An early exterior rendering of the Old Post Office’s exterior and new riverwalk released in mid 2016.

Recent images appearing in a slide show prepared by brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield as well as the online development forum Skyscraper Page seem to have shed light on aspects of the $300 million overhaul. These more far refined—albeit not necessarily finalized—renderings show the property’s restored Art Deco lobby plus new amenity spaces such as tenant lounges, retail offerings, a fitness center, and a landscaped riverwalk complete with food truck parking and a water taxi stop. While Gensler’s Chicago office did confirm ownership of the images, more changes are likely to come ahead of a formal announcement from 601W and its partners.

Considering its high-profile perch above the Eisenhower Expressway and its many years of vacancy and decay, it is little surprise that many Chicagoans have kept a close eye on construction activity at the Old Post Office. So far, permits were issued for a new roof, elevator system, stairs, plumbing, and over 2,400 fresh windows. A second, much brighter spotlight was recently shed on the renovation effort after it was announced that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was engaging Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos with hopes of luring the tech firm’s lucrative HQ2 second corporate headquarters to the Windy City.

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