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  1. Today
  2. Seven months after announcing that it wanted to sell its headquarters building, the City Colleges of Chicago has picked a buyer. The 14-story office building at 226 West Jackson Boulevard will go to Zidan Management Group for $34.5 million. It was one of 14 bids received for the mid-rise, designed by Frost and Granger, and completed in 1904. 226 West Jackson Boulevard The Indianapolis apartment management company plans to add the building to its portfolio of 5,000 apartments in the Midwest. It has two other buildings in Chicago. The sale is a cost-saving measure by City Colleges. The headquarters building is more than half empty, and most of the administration will be stationed at various college campuses around the city. Those that remain downtown will decamp for an office building at 180 North Wabash, across the street from Harold Washington College. More details in the press release below. City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustees Votes to Authorize Sale of Headquarters Building All City Colleges Staff Will Work at a College or in the Immediate Proximity By Summer Chicago, IL – The City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustees voted today to authorize the sale of the CCC downtown headquarters building at 226 W. Jackson. The offer of $34.5 million from Zidan Management Group was the highest among 14 offers received during a public bidding process. City Colleges of Chicago plans to relocate the majority of its administrative office staff to its colleges. “The sale of City Colleges headquarters brings our staff closer to the students, faculty and other staff they serve and helps ensure we make efficient use of taxpayer dollars,” said Chancellor Juan Salgado. “We are pleased with the offer and look forward to the opportunity it presents to rebuild our capital reserves and make future investments that enhance our students’ experience.” CCC Chancellor Juan Salgado announced the proposed sale of the District’s headquarters building earlier this summer in a move intended to right size operations and shift more resources to its colleges located in Chicago neighborhoods. Moving administrative staff to CCC campuses around the city aligns with the Chancellor’s strategy to shift greater focus to the system’s seven colleges and five satellite sites while shoring up the district’s long-term financial health. Two hundred City Colleges administrative staff will move to one of its college locations, with most going to Kennedy-King College in Englewood and Dawson Technical Institute in Bronzeville. Staff will also relocate to Truman College in Uptown, Malcolm X College on the Near West Side, and a smaller downtown office space at 180 N. Wabash, across from Harold Washington College. City Colleges aims to close on the downtown headquarters building with Zidan Management Group by the end of its FY18 fiscal year this spring. The buyer, Indianapolis-based Zidan Management Group, intends to develop the building for use as multi-family apartments. The offer of $34.5 million equates to $146.85/gross square foot. No zoning, financial or environmental contingencies were included in the offer. The Group has two other projects in Chicago: the completed rehab of Somerset Place Apartments, 5009 N. Sheridan Road, in the Uptown neighborhood, and Shoreline Apartments, 2231 E. 67th Street, in the South Shore neighborhood. City Colleges of Chicago enlisted the services of a team led by Martin Stern of CBRE, Inc. to market and advise it on the sale of the property. The 185,000-square foot classically-styled office building located at 226 W. Jackson just east of the Willis Tower, sits on 17,400 square feet at the Northeast corner of Jackson and Franklin and is zoned by the City of Chicago as “Downtown Core 16.” Click to view the full article
  3. Wolf Point: Here Comes the Crane Again

    It’s still the dead of winter in Chicago, but the next thing you know, daffodils will be shoving their yellow heads out of the dirt in Lincoln Park. Before that happens, a big yellow crane is going to rise from the dirt at Wolf Point. Wolf Point East under construction (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris) River North Spy Chris slid the photo above into our tip line. It shows a piece of a tower crane being delivered to the site of what will soon be Wolf Point East (313 West Wolf Point Plaza/326 North Orleans Street). WPE is one of three towers that will eventually fill out Wolf Point. bKL’s Wolf Point West is already completed. The photo from Chris shows Pelli Clarke Pelli’s Wolf Point East underway. Wolf Point South, by the same firm, will be the third and final tower in the trio. The east tower will eventually rise to a height of 668 feet with 60 floors above ground, six floors below ground, and just short of 700 apartments. It is expected to be completed next year. Click to view the full article
  4. Wolf Point: Here Comes the Crane Again

    It’s still the dead of winter in Chicago, but the next thing you know, daffodils will be shoving their yellow heads out of the dirt in Lincoln Park. Before that happens, a big yellow crane is going to rise from the dirt at Wolf Point. Wolf Point East under construction (Courtesy of River North Spy Chris) River North Spy Chris slid the photo above into our tip line. It shows a piece of a tower crane being delivered to the site of what will soon be Wolf Point East (313 West Wolf Point Plaza/326 North Orleans Street). WPE is one of three towers that will eventually fill out Wolf Point. bKL’s Wolf Point West is already completed. The photo from Chris shows Pelli Clarke Pelli’s Wolf Point East underway. Wolf Point South, by the same firm, will be the third and final tower in the trio. The east tower will eventually rise to a height of 668 feet with 60 floors above ground, six floors below ground, and just short of 700 apartments. It is expected to be completed next year. Click to view the full article
  5. Yesterday
  6. One of Chicago’s most exciting ongoing developments is the decades-delayed kitting out of Wolf Point. Skyscraper nerds from the West Loop to Waukegan have been watching Wolf in wonder as it slowly transforms from a surface parking lot into the residential and office hub of River North. Screenshot of bKL’s Wolf Point West video While work is underway on Pelli Clark Pelli’s Wolf Point East, bKL’s Wolf Point West is the only tower of the three that has actually been completed. To show off its achievement, the Loop architecture firm has put together a new video with lots of juicy quadcopter footage, while principal Tom Kerwin dishes about the project. Video follows: Click to view the full article
  7. Permits have been issued for the nearly $10 million transformation of the former Crate and Barrel flagship store on the Magnificent Mile into a new mega Starbucks. Rendering of the proposed new flagship Starbucks store on Michigan Avenue (Courtesy of Starbucks) INTERIOR & EXTERIOR ALTERATIONS (GROUND THROUGH 5TH FLOOR) FOR SHELL & CORE ONLY TO INCLUDE NEW ROOF DECK OF AN EXISTING FIVE (5) STORY MERCANTILE BUILDING AS PER PLANS. The four-story building at 646 North Michigan Avenue opened in 1990, and it shaped like a (wait for it) crate, and a barrel. It was one of a new generation of commercial buildings that helped transform the retail strip from genteel boutiques and minor department stores into the outdoor suburban chain store shopping mall it has become today. Interestingly, the building’s transformation can be watched over by the very firm that designed it. SBC’s offices are across the street and offer several windows looking down on 646. SCB describes the structure’s impact more diplomatically than we can: The Michigan Avenue facility became the model for over 40 SCB-designed Crate & Barrel stores across the United States. It also set an important precedent for stand-alone retail stores on Chicago’s renowned retail thoroughfare, altering its character to become more pedestrian friendly and paving the way for contemporary imitators. 646’s sensitivity to scale, and local ownership elevated it ever-so-slightly above the scrutiny that subsequent developments would receive. The Crate and Barrel flagship store as seen from the offices of SCB. The new 43,000-square-foot Starbucks store will actually be across the street from a Starbucks that was demolished in the mid-2000’s to make way for the Ritz-Carlton Residences (664 North Michigan Avenue). It is one of the serial caffeinator’s new Rostery-style stores, which means that coffee beans will actually be roasted and packaged on-site. Certainly an improvement over the usual smell of Chicago’s side streets. That smell is an integral part of the store experience. The new reality of Magnificent Mile stores that “get it” is that this location is not about selling. It’s about branding. The flagship stores of brands like AT&T, Verizon, and Underarmor aren’t about ringing up receipts. They’re three-dimensional, immersive, full-sensory advertisements for their brands. You can’t put up a billboard to reach the multitude on North Michigan Avenue, but you can put in a pop-up shop that goes beyond visual stimulation. Companies pushing everything from phones to pizza have done this on Michigan Avenue over the last 15 years. It gets the brand in your brain through touch, smell, and occasionally even taste. (Nokia was the first in pop-up format, though it could be argued that Apple’s former flagship was the originator of the concept.) Starbucks has a long history in Chicago, occasionally trying out new store concepts and even new beverages in the Windy City. As the Seattle company notes, “Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. From the glamorous Gold Coast to the museums of the Magnificent Mile.” If anyone has a city map from the defunct Mag Mile Rand McNally Store, feel free to send it to Raintown. Click to view the full article
  8. Permits have been issued for the nearly $10 million transformation of the former Crate and Barrel flagship store on the Magnificent Mile into a new mega Starbucks. Rendering of the proposed new flagship Starbucks store on Michigan Avenue (Courtesy of Starbucks) INTERIOR & EXTERIOR ALTERATIONS (GROUND THROUGH 5TH FLOOR) FOR SHELL & CORE ONLY TO INCLUDE NEW ROOF DECK OF AN EXISTING FIVE (5) STORY MERCANTILE BUILDING AS PER PLANS. The four-story building at 646 North Michigan Avenue opened in 1990, and it shaped like a (wait for it) crate, and a barrel. It was one of a new generation of commercial buildings that helped transform the retail strip from genteel boutiques and minor department stores into the outdoor suburban chain store shopping mall it has become today. Interestingly, the building’s transformation can be watched over by the very firm that designed it. SBC’s offices are across the street and offer several windows looking down on 646. SCB describes the structure’s impact more diplomatically than we can: The Michigan Avenue facility became the model for over 40 SCB-designed Crate & Barrel stores across the United States. It also set an important precedent for stand-alone retail stores on Chicago’s renowned retail thoroughfare, altering its character to become more pedestrian friendly and paving the way for contemporary imitators. 646’s sensitivity to scale, and local ownership elevated it ever-so-slightly above the scrutiny that subsequent developments would receive. The Crate and Barrel flagship store as seen from the offices of SCB. The new 43,000-square-foot Starbucks store will actually be across the street from a Starbucks that was demolished in the mid-2000’s to make way for the Ritz-Carlton Residences (664 North Michigan Avenue). It is one of the serial caffeinator’s new Rostery-style stores, which means that coffee beans will actually be roasted and packaged on-site. Certainly an improvement over the usual smell of Chicago’s side streets. That smell is an integral part of the store experience. The new reality of Magnificent Mile stores that “get it” is that this location is not about selling. It’s about branding. The flagship stores of brands like AT&T, Verizon, and Underarmor aren’t about ringing up receipts. They’re three-dimensional, immersive, full-sensory advertisements for their brands. You can’t put up a billboard to reach the multitude on North Michigan Avenue, but you can put in a pop-up shop that goes beyond visual stimulation. Companies pushing everything from phones to pizza have done this on Michigan Avenue over the last 15 years. It gets the brand in your brain through touch, smell, and occasionally even taste. (Nokia was the first in pop-up format, though it could be argued that Apple’s former flagship was the originator of the concept.) Starbucks has a long history in Chicago, occasionally trying out new store concepts and even new beverages in the Windy City. As the Seattle company notes, “Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. From the glamorous Gold Coast to the museums of the Magnificent Mile.” If anyone has a city map from the defunct Mag Mile Rand McNally Store, feel free to send it to Raintown. Click to view the full article
  9. Last week
  10. Yet another residential tower is going to dip its beak into the stream of people coming to live in The Loop. 50 East Randolph Street parking garage (via Apple Maps) This latest proposal, reported in Crain’s Chicago Business, would see a parking garage on the northeast corner of Randolph Street and Wabash Avenue razed to make way for a 27-story skyscraper. The project at 50 East Randolph Street by Thomas Roszak is on the same block where another parking garage bit the dust to make way for another residential tower. That was the 42-story 72 East Lake, which went up in 2014. Across the street from that, Linea at 215 West Lake opened last year, again demonstrating that people are eager to live in this slice of Chicago. What the new Randolph Street building will look like and big it will be remain undetermined. It’s still a work in progress. But an educated guess puts it at about 35 to 40 stories. We’ll see what happens. Click to view the full article
  11. Earlier
  12. Well, the question about what differentiates machinery from a tool has been lingering for quite some time. In gardening terms, I would like to set the record straight by saying that machinery is a complex gadget that has many processes running in it to achieve its objective. There are many gardening machineries that one can choose from based on the area of the lawn and the complexity of the task to be done. Typically, gardening machinery requires a source of power and hence eliminates mechanical work. Lawn mowers (the ride-on kinds) and tractors are best examples of gardening machineries that are of great use. Beside these, you also have grass trimmers that are either gas, electric or battery operated. The decision to go for a basic gardening tool or a machinery depends on the manual effort that can be put in (of course, the time involved is also considered), and the investment that can be made towards gardening.Read more about gardening tool set.
  13. The proposal to turn a city block’s worth of public park over to a private organization to build a parking garage is dead. It was announced late last night that the Barack Obama Presidential Center has decided not to build its controversial parking garage and transit center on the Midway Plaisance. (Left to right) The Midway Plaisance block today, the original proposal, and the recently deceased proposal. The parking deck and bus idling area were met with scorn and disbelief by neighbors and fans of public space when it surfaced last year. It would have placed a multi-story parkade at the intersection of Stony Island and 60th Street. The side facing Jackson Park would have featured sloping greenery, but the opposite side would have been a sheer facade, like any other parking ramp, and actually rise higher than the adjacent South Shore Line railroad embankment. In exchange for taking away a block of public park listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the city would have been given… *crickets* Michael McNamee, co-chair of the Save the Midway neighborhood group issued this statement: We hold this to be a victory for preservationists who fought to respect this Olmsted park as a national treasure on the National Register of Historic Places; for public parks and open land advocates; for environmentalists; for community groups and organizations; and for the local community. We are grateful to all who supported the work to keep the Midway entire, open and clear. The Obama Foundation will, instead build an underground parking garage within the rest of the Obama Center campus, soon to be built across the street in Jackson Park. Click to view the full article
  14. The new public library and public housing building planned for what’s left of Little Italy is about to get started. Roosevelt Square Library (Courtesy of SOM) The first construction permits have been issued for the Roosevelt Square Library building at 1342 West Taylor Street. FOUNDATIONS-ONLY PERMIT FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION OF A 7-STORY 86,976 SQUARE FOOT MIXED USE BUILDING WITH LIBRARY AND 73 AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS WITH PARKING LOT AND SITE IMPROVEMENTS. As we reported over the summer, this project is a public-private partnership between the Chicago Housing Authority, Related, and Bickerdike Redevelopment. The design is New York-based SOM. The notion is that by combining public housing and public library in one building, the city can save money, and also locate city services very close to some of the people who presumably need them most. And having a library in your building makes going to the library a lot easier than having to slog a quarter way across the city on a CTA bus. No offense to the CTA. This building is part of the CHA’s ongoing redevelopment of its ABLA Homes, and has been given a less-than-enthusiastic reception by everyone from architecture critic Blair Kamen to hundreds of neighbors unafraid to put their names on a petition. The concerns are a selection from the grab bag of usual development complaints: fear of changing property values, traffic, and lack of community input. As we have been following this development from afar, we’re not qualified to say if the concerns are legitimate or not. Click to view the full article
  15. The new public library and public housing building planned for what’s left of Little Italy is about to get started. Roosevelt Square Library (Courtesy of SOM) The first construction permits have been issued for the Roosevelt Square Library building at 1342 West Taylor Street. FOUNDATIONS-ONLY PERMIT FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION OF A 7-STORY 86,976 SQUARE FOOT MIXED USE BUILDING WITH LIBRARY AND 73 AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS WITH PARKING LOT AND SITE IMPROVEMENTS. As we reported over the summer, this project is a public-private partnership between the Chicago Housing Authority, Related, and Bickerdike Redevelopment. The design is New York-based SOM. The notion is that by combining public housing and public library in one building, the city can save money, and also locate city services very close to some of the people who presumably need them most. And having a library in your building makes going to the library a lot easier than having to slog a quarter way across the city on a CTA bus. No offense to the CTA. This building is part of the CHA’s ongoing redevelopment of its ABLA Homes, and has been given a less-than-enthusiastic reception by everyone from architecture critic Blair Kamen to hundreds of neighbors unafraid to put their names on a petition. The concerns are a selection from the grab bag of usual development complaints: fear of changing property values, traffic, and lack of community input. As we have been following this development from afar, we’re not qualified to say if the concerns are legitimate or not. Click to view the full article
  16. The official groundbreaking has been marked for 61 Banks Street, a new residential mid-rise that will rise midly on the corner of East Banks Street and North Lakeshore Drive in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. This was the only open, developable land along the lakefront between the Chicago River and Diversey Harbor. Rendering of 61 Banks Street (Courtesy of Draper and Kramer) The new apartment block is a project of Draper and Kramer, and designed by Booth Hansen in the West Loop. It is just eight stories tall, and features 58 residences. Seven of them are townhomes. When we introduced you to this project almost two years ago, we spake of it thusly: Messrs. Draper and Kramer describe the location as “prime,” and this is one of the few times we can actually agree with real estate hype. The building will offer unobstructed — and unobstructable — views of Lake Michigan to the east, and is ensconced in a hotdish of landmarked buildings and districts so thick that, barring a Godzilla-triggered seiche, the rest of the neighborhood isn’t going to lose its genteel, leafy character in your lifetime or mine. A toaster on the space station couldn’t make this location more upper crust. The cartoon angel on your left shoulder is asking, “If it’s such a good location, why is it only eight stories and 60 units?” The cartoon devil on your right shoulder knows the answer: Deep-pocketed and litigious neighbors who live in nearby skyscrapers blocking other people’s views who don’t, in turn, want their views blocked. They got theirs; everyone else can go pound sand. Even if you can’t afford $5,000 to $12,000 a month to rent one of these lakefront lily pads, the construction of this building is still good news, as it erases yet another surface parking lot. More details in the press release following the renderings, all courtesy of Draper and Kramer. Draper and Kramer Breaks Ground on 61 Banks Street in Chicago’s Gold Coast 58-unit boutique rental building designed by Booth Hansen expected to deliver in early 2019 CHICAGO (Jan. 4, 2018) – Draper and Kramer, Incorporated, has started construction on 61 Banks Street, a new boutique residential rental building along Chicago’s lakefront. The intimate eight-story property, which will grace the last undeveloped site on North Lake Shore Drive in the Gold Coast neighborhood, will feature a mix of 58 upscale two- and three-bedroom residences, including seven two-story “maisonette” rowhome units with direct street-level entrances and private terraces. “The Gold Coast is Chicago’s premier neighborhood, and we’re incredibly proud to have designed a building that brings both a sophisticated design aesthetic and elegant lifestyle to match this prime lakefront location,” said Ed Polich, senior vice president and chief development officer for Draper and Kramer. “This building will be a unique residential enclave in one of this city’s most sought-after areas, not only delivering unmatched resident services, but also complementing the context of the Gold Coast and adjacent lakefront.” Designed by Larry Booth, principal and director of Booth Hansen, 61 Banks Street will have a scale similar to the iconic residences nearby along East Lake Shore Drive. The building’s exterior will comprise traditional cast stone contrasted by modern glass and metal architectural bays. “The design of 61 Banks Street incorporates elements of the many fine examples of art deco and midcentury modern architecture found in the immediate neighborhood,” said Booth. The building will be topped by a green roof with an expansive outdoor terrace as well as enclosed rooftop amenity space. The seven maisonette residences will flank the ground floor of the property, with these units’ street-level terraces as well as lush landscaping beds enhancing the streetscape on all sides of the building. All landscaped areas have been designed by award-winning landscape design firm Jacobs/Ryan Associates, while Leopardo Companies is serving as general contractor for the project. Residences at 61 Banks Street will be generous in size, with two-bedroom units averaging 1,700 square feet and three-bedroom apartments averaging 2,400 square feet. Floor plans will showcase the property’s Lake Michigan frontage with open layouts, 10-plus-foot ceilings and expanses of floor-to-ceiling windows. The resident experience at 61 Banks Street will be enhanced by the high caliber of craftsmanship and finish level found throughout the building and in each apartment, created under the guidance of Booth Hansen and renowned interior architect Darcy Bonner & Associates. Elegant apartments feature a warm, natural palette, custom details, spa-style bathrooms and gourmet kitchens with Bosch appliances, quartz and stone countertops, and built-in wine coolers. Engineered plank flooring runs throughout each residence. “As always, our team sought out the highest-quality materials for these residences, selecting modern yet classic elements to be the backdrop for each resident’s own interior design choices and personal touches,” noted Darcy Bonner, principal of Darcy Bonner & Associates. Residents at 61 Banks Street will also have access to a full-time hotel-style concierge and 24-hour valet parking. “On-demand, individualized service will further define the lifestyle at 61 Banks Street, and our experienced building staff will be in place to deliver on that service promise,” said Polich. “Additionally, all residents will have access to the exclusive rooftop club, where they can enjoy the building’s amazing lakefront and skyline views.” The rooftop club includes a glass-enclosed lounge, library, kitchen and well-equipped fitness center as well as a lushly landscaped roof terrace with outdoor seating, dining areas and grilling stations. Monthly rents at 61 Banks Street are expected to range from $5,500 to over $12,000. For information or to be added to the property’s VIP list, visit www.61banksstreet.com. Click to view the full article
  17. Since this publication began almost 15 years ago, we’ve always stated there is a big difference between blogging and journalism. That became evident over this New Year’s Eve weekend, when a bunch of 20-somethings with smartphones who like to play journalist lit up the internet with cries that there was something wrong with the new Apple flagship store at Pioneer Court. Sadly, it started with local blogger Matt Maldre who posted a photograph on his blog showing the Apple Store with sandwich board signs next to it warning, “Watch for Falling Show and Ice.” Matt gave his photograph and accompanying accusatory essay the unfortunate clickbiat title “Design flaw in Apple flagship store.” Apple Store Pioneer Court (Courtesy of Apple) How he knew there was a design flaw is hard to say. He is neither an architect, nor an engineer. Nor is he in any way related to the construction industry. He describes himself as a “graphic designer and public spaces artist.” Public spaces artist usually means graffiti vandal, but that’s a discussion for another time. Mr. Maldre’s photo, headline, and accompanying snark caught the attention of national Apple blogger John Gruber. Again, not a journalist, but a blogger for Daring Fireball, which was once highly respected as a breaker of Apple news, but is now more often caught in the same cycle of hysteria and hyperbole that afflicts most online publications. From there, the story was aped by all of the big tech blogs in the SFO-PDX-SEA left coast tech echo chamber: The Verge, Mashable, 9 to 5 Mac, Ars Technica, and dozens of others reaching millions of people. This led to those mainstream media outlets that are struggling to make the transition to digital to copy the story as well. And in keeping with today’s journalism standards, it was publish first, gather facts later — if at all. Among the guilty parties are Newsweek, KCBS, and The San Francisco Chronicle. Our local media went more cautiously into the fray, actually bothering to check out the story instead of taking the word of some random stranger at a bus stop that there was a problem. To wit: We learned that the roof of the Apple Store at Pioneer Court does have a heating system. The heating system didn’t do as good a job as it could have, which is not unexpected as this is the first major cold snap of its first winter. Tweaks are always made once real-world conditions are encountered. The building has no gutters, so the water created by the heating system is supposed to drain through pipes in the support columns. The computer system controlling the rooftop heating will be (probably has been by the time you read this) reprogrammed. The Chicago Sun-Times talked to a consultant for the London architecture firm Foster + Partners that designed the store. She claimed that ice wasn’t a major consideration when it was designed. An Apple spokesperson disputes this, and we’re going to have to go with Apple on this one for two reasons. First, they obviously thought about snow and ice or the roof wouldn’t have a heating system in it to melt snow and ice. And secondly, I don’t know how things work at your office, but where I nine-to-five it, outside consultants get only a small window into the work we do. They are in no way informed of every aspect of what we do, or even given full details of the projects they are brought in to consult on. They are told what they need to know. The big golf clap here goes to the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin, who as usual, is the only journalist to actually do some real reporting here. For that reason, his is the only article we’re linking to. Yes, he spent half of his space on an tedious tangental moan about Apple’s secrecy, as if there haven’t been entire books written on the subject. But up top, his article is the kind of “just the facts ma’am” that at one time made Chicago a writer’s town, and a powerhouse of journalism. Back on point: icicles falling off of Chicago buildings is no big deal. You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced the atrial fibrillation caused by a 100-foot-long chunk of ice falling off an antenna at the John Hancock Center, and then careening down the face of the building — rushing past your windows — in a waterfall of icy cold death. Or standing in The Shoreham staring into the darkness when a winter’s gale pries a three-story sheet of ice off The Regatta and smashes it to bits just inches from your face, protected by some apparently very sturdy glass. Try getting the cat out from under the bed after one of those. I know it will come as a surprise to people who live in a city where the National Weather Service issues a heat alert when it gets to 80 degrees, but this happens every winter. To drive that point home, enjoy this photo gallery of falling ice signs taken at various buildings around downtown Chicago that aren’t the Apple Store. Click to view the full article
  18. Since this publication began almost 15 years ago, we’ve always stated there is a big difference between blogging and journalism. That became evident over this New Year’s Eve weekend, when a bunch of 20-somethings with smartphones who like to play journalist lit up the internet with cries that there was something wrong with the new Apple flagship store at Pioneer Court. Sadly, it started with local blogger Matt Maldre who posted a photograph on his blog showing the Apple Store with sandwich board signs next to it warning, “Watch for Falling Show and Ice.” Matt gave his photograph and accompanying accusatory essay the unfortunate clickbiat title “Design flaw in Apple flagship store.” Apple Store Pioneer Court (Courtesy of Apple) How he knew there was a design flaw is hard to say. He is neither an architect, nor an engineer. Nor is he in any way related to the construction industry. He describes himself as a “graphic designer and public spaces artist.” Public spaces artist usually means graffiti vandal, but that’s a discussion for another time. Mr. Maldre’s photo, headline, and accompanying snark caught the attention of national Apple blogger John Gruber. Again, not a journalist, but a blogger for Daring Fireball, which was once highly respected as a breaker of Apple news, but is now more often caught in the same cycle of hysteria and hyperbole that afflicts most online publications. From there, the story was aped by all of the big tech blogs in the SFO-PDX-SEA left coast tech echo chamber: The Verge, Mashable, 9 to 5 Mac, Ars Technica, and dozens of others reaching millions of people. This led to those mainstream media outlets that are struggling to make the transition to digital to copy the story as well. And in keeping with today’s journalism standards, it was publish first, gather facts later — if at all. Among the guilty parties are Newsweek, KCBS, and The San Francisco Chronicle. Our local media went more cautiously into the fray, actually bothering to check out the story instead of taking the word of some random stranger at a bus stop that there was a problem. To wit: We learned that the roof of the Apple Store at Pioneer Court does have a heating system. The heating system didn’t do as good a job as it could have, which is not unexpected as this is the first major cold snap of its first winter. Tweaks are always made once real-world conditions are encountered. The building has no gutters, so the water created by the heating system is supposed to drain through pipes in the support columns. The computer system controlling the rooftop heating will be (probably has been by the time you read this) reprogrammed. The Chicago Sun-Times talked to a consultant for the London architecture firm Foster + Partners that designed the store. She claimed that ice wasn’t a major consideration when it was designed. An Apple spokesperson disputes this, and we’re going to have to go with Apple on this one for two reasons. First, they obviously thought about snow and ice or the roof wouldn’t have a heating system in it to melt snow and ice. And secondly, I don’t know how things work at your office, but where I nine-to-five it, outside consultants get only a small window into the work we do. They are in no way informed of every aspect of what we do, or even given full details of the projects they are brought in to consult on. They are told what they need to know. The big golf clap here goes to the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin, who as usual, is the only journalist to actually do some real reporting here. For that reason, his is the only article we’re linking to. Yes, he spent half of his space on an tedious tangental moan about Apple’s secrecy, as if there haven’t been entire books written on the subject. But up top, his article is the kind of “just the facts ma’am” that at one time made Chicago a writer’s town, and a powerhouse of journalism. Back on point: icicles falling off of Chicago buildings is no big deal. You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced the atrial fibrillation caused by a 100-foot-long chunk of ice falling off an antenna at the John Hancock Center, and then careening down the face of the building — rushing past your windows — in a waterfall of icy cold death. Or standing in The Shoreham staring into the darkness when a winter’s gale pries a three-story sheet of ice off The Regatta and smashes it to bits just inches from your face, protected by some apparently very sturdy glass. Try getting the cat out from under the bed after one of those. I know it will come as a surprise to people who live in a city where the National Weather Service issues a heat alert when it gets to 80 degrees, but this happens every winter. To drive that point home, enjoy this photo gallery of falling ice signs taken at various buildings around downtown Chicago that aren’t the Apple Store. Click to view the full article
  19. You may have seen it on New Year’s Eve, while standing out on the snow-packed sidewalk, sipping the last 312 from the emergency stash on the back porch, gazing up at the illegal neighborhood fireworks display and thinking that for one moment all is right with the world. It’s the cranes in the sky over the city of Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who last year outed himself as a fan of construction cranes, noted in his Twitter account that in 2017 that 62 tower cranes operated in the City of Chicago. That’s up from a Great Recession low of 12 not that many years ago. In some circles, cranes in the air are seen as one measure of a city’s economic vitality. Though cities like Seattle and New York beat our 62 mark, it’s still none too shabby a number. Hizzonor included a video with his tweet showing various cranes around town. But the person who made the video doesn’t know the difference between a tower crane and a window washing hoist, so we’ll go with our own gallery of recent Chicago crane photos, courtesy of Loop Spy Greg. Enjoy. Click to view the full article
  20. You may have seen it on New Year’s Eve, while standing out on the snow-packed sidewalk, sipping the last 312 from the emergency stash on the back porch, gazing up at the illegal neighborhood fireworks display and thinking that for one moment all is right with the world. It’s the cranes in the sky over the city of Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who last year outed himself as a fan of construction cranes, noted in his Twitter account that in 2017 that 62 tower cranes operated in the City of Chicago. That’s up from a Great Recession low of 12 not that many years ago. In some circles, cranes in the air are seen as one measure of a city’s economic vitality. Though cities like Seattle and New York beat our 62 mark, it’s still none too shabby a number. Hizzonor included a video with his tweet showing various cranes around town. But the person who made the video doesn’t know the difference between a tower crane and a window washing hoist, so we’ll go with our own gallery of recent Chicago crane photos, courtesy of Loop Spy Greg. Enjoy. Click to view the full article
  21. Earlier this month we told you about Sterling Bay’s plan for a new office building at 360 North Green Street. Now the paperwork has officially been submitted to the City of Chicago. Diagram of 360 North Green Street In one way, the location makes perfect sense, as it is an extension of the massive land rush transforming West Town into Chicagoland’s leading tech hub. (Would the last meat packer in the neighborhood please turn out the lights before going to cash your check?) But in another way, it has a few oddities. First, it’s on the other side of the Amtrak tracks that connect Union Station to the suburbs, Milwaukee, and eventually Seattle. Sure, even though Peoria Street is split in two at this point, there’s still plenty of access across Green Street on the other side of the building. But ask anyone living at the Riverbend condominiums if having a triple set of train tracks running through your front yard is a problem, and you’ll probably get a different answer. As a point of interest, that three-block-long stretch of unkempt shrubbery running along the tracks from this location at Green Street all the way out to Morgan Street is part of this property. It’s not listed for development in any way, but it makes the property map look like a frenched lamp chop. Regardless, San Francisco’s Gensler was hired to put together a building for this block, and the result is a 21-story organized as a pair of adjacent vertical planes, with one superseding the other. Like books on a shelf, or one person helping another navigate the snowy Green Street rail crossing. Operating address: 360 North Green Street Address: 352-372 North Green Street Address: 833-857 West Kinzie Street Address: 357-373 North Peoria Street Address: 358-360 North Peoria Street Address: 362 North Sangamon Street Address: 363 North Sangamon Street Address: 363 North Morgan Street Developer: Green Kinzie, LLC For realsies: Sterling Bay Architecture firm: Gensler Net site area: 61,900 square feet Floor area ratio: 8.1 (5.0 base + 3.1 bonus) Maximum height: 298 feet Roof height: 256 feet Setback at 21st floor Retail space: 17,674 square feet Automobile parking: 256 spaces Garage access: via West Kinzie Street Loading docks: 3 Office entrance: via West Kinzie Street Green roof: 15,415 square feet Click to view the full article
  22. Earlier this month we told you about Sterling Bay’s plan for a new office building at 360 North Green Street. Now the paperwork has officially been submitted to the City of Chicago. Diagram of 360 North Green Street In one way, the location makes perfect sense, as it is an extension of the massive land rush transforming West Town into Chicagoland’s leading tech hub. (Would the last meat packer in the neighborhood please turn out the lights before going to cash your check?) But in another way, it has a few oddities. First, it’s on the other side of the Amtrak tracks that connect Union Station to the suburbs, Milwaukee, and eventually Seattle. Sure, even though Peoria Street is split in two at this point, there’s still plenty of access across Green Street on the other side of the building. But ask anyone living at the Riverbend condominiums if having a triple set of train tracks running through your front yard is a problem, and you’ll probably get a different answer. As a point of interest, that three-block-long stretch of unkempt shrubbery running along the tracks from this location at Green Street all the way out to Morgan Street is part of this property. It’s not listed for development in any way, but it makes the property map look like a frenched lamp chop. Regardless, San Francisco’s Gensler was hired to put together a building for this block, and the result is a 21-story organized as a pair of adjacent vertical planes, with one superseding the other. Like books on a shelf, or one person helping another navigate the snowy Green Street rail crossing. Operating address: 360 North Green Street Address: 352-372 North Green Street Address: 833-857 West Kinzie Street Address: 357-373 North Peoria Street Address: 358-360 North Peoria Street Address: 362 North Sangamon Street Address: 363 North Sangamon Street Address: 363 North Morgan Street Developer: Green Kinzie, LLC For realsies: Sterling Bay Architecture firm: Gensler Net site area: 61,900 square feet Floor area ratio: 8.1 (5.0 base + 3.1 bonus) Maximum height: 298 feet Roof height: 256 feet Setback at 21st floor Retail space: 17,674 square feet Automobile parking: 256 spaces Garage access: via West Kinzie Street Loading docks: 3 Office entrance: via West Kinzie Street Green roof: 15,415 square feet Click to view the full article
  23. West Town’s SPECTRE Lands on Paper

    The latest vision for a building to replace the surface parking lot at 801 West Lake Street has been filed with the City of Chicago. SPECTRE is a project of neighborhood outfit Shapack Partners, with San Francisco’s Gensler at the virtual drafting table. It’s worth mentioning that on some maps, this property is marked “The Green,” but we’re going with SPECTRE because that’s the name in city paperwork. We’re also capitalizing it because that’s what Ernst Blofeld would have wanted. Diagram of SPECTRE There have been a few proposals for this block of West Town in recent years. It’s located on the prime — if noisy — southwest corner of Lake and Halsted Streets. The latest iteration calls for a 275-foot-tall building broken into several masses. The public alley that was once an extension of West Couch Place will be converted into a private drive burrowing into the center of the building, leading to internal loading docks. Another public alley will be built over completely, and be turned into elevators and office space. In exchange for erasing the public alleys, the building will have an interior passage running through it, paralleling Randolph Street to the south. This is presented to the city as “The Mews – Pedestrian Retail Passage,” evoking some of the better enclosed quasi-public spaces in London or Brussels. However, this sort of thing has been done before in Chicago with varying levels of success. It could end up being the lively, if retail random, passage between the CTA Red and Blue lines in the basement of Block37. It could end up the winter garden oasis at 311 South Wacker Drive. Or it could end up the dreary retail corridor in the Loop Transportation Center (203 North LaSalle). In exchange for extra height for this building, the developer is going to write a fat check to build a field house at Skinner Park, and another check to help pay for a new public library nearby. Firehose time! Operating address: 801 West Lake Street Address: 159-185 North Green Street Address: 801-813 West Lake Street Address: 821-825 West Lake Street Address: 162-184 North Halsted Street Developer: Shapack Partners Architecture firm: Gensler Net site area: 57,085 square feet Zoning: C3-1 Commercial, Manufacturing, and Employment District; DX-5 Downtown Mixed Use District → PD1354 Floor area ratio: 11.5 (7.0 base + 4.5 bonus) Building height: 275 feet Building length: 265 feet Building width: 252 feet Floors: 18 Setbacks at 16th floor (230 feet) and 17th floor (245 feet) Public space lost: 3,768 square feet Minimum automobile parking: 129 spaces Minimum bicycle parking: 30 spaces Minimum loading docks: 2 Parking garage access: via West Lake Street Click to view the full article
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  25. Bridgford Foods‘ project to redevelop the northern part of the Fulton Market block bounded by Lake, Green, Randolph, and Peoria Streets has been modified once again. Previous refinements of this building have seen it swell from 13 stories to 17 stories tall, and end up with 322 residences and 250 parking spaces. Diagram of 170 North Green The latest paperwork filed with the city a few days ago shows the current plan is to keep the main building’s 17-story height, through with a minor increase to 192 feet. The secondary building is just eight stories. The maximum number of residences shrinks to just 314. The parking remains the same at 250 spaces, which is surprising since this building is CTA-adjacent, and the Morgan Green/Pink line station is just two blocks away. Another curious element is the transformation of the existing curb cut for the current loading dock on North Peoria Street (the one under the giant “Bridgford Foods” sign) into a 61-foot long “people space” with an extra-wide sidewalk. And just when you thought hipsters were becoming a thing of the past, there’s a rooftop bocce court. Bridgford Foods deserves a big pat on the back for satisfying its 31-unit Affordable Housing obligation by including those units within the development, instead of writing a big fat check to shuffle the city’s baristas, teachers, doormen, shopgirls, and others who can’t normally afford to live downtown off to “somewhere else” where they won’t be seen. Details in the firehose: Operating address: 170 North Green Address: 158-182 North Green Street 833-857 West Lake Street 163-185 North Peoria Street Developer: Bridgford Foods Architecture firm: Hartshorn Plunkard Architects Net site area: 62,712 square feet Zoning: C-1 Neighborhood Commercial and C3-1 Commercial, Manufacturing and Employment District → DX-5 Downtown Mixed-Use → PD1354 Floor area ratio: 5.0 Amenity deck height: 37 feet Maximum building height: 210 feet Mechanical penthouse height: 202 feet Roof height: 192 feet Maximum number of residences: 314 Affordable housing obligation: 31 units Automobile parking: 250 spaces Parking garage access via North Peoria Street Bicycle parking: yes, but number of berths not specified Loading docks: 2, on West Randolph Street Residential entrance on North Green Street Green roof: 24,169 square feet Click to view the full article
  26. Bridgford Foods‘ project to redevelop the northern part of the Fulton Market block bounded by Lake, Green, Randolph, and Peoria Streets has been modified once again. Previous refinements of this building have seen it swell from 13 stories to 17 stories tall, and end up with 322 residences and 250 parking spaces. Diagram of 170 North Green The latest paperwork filed with the city a few days ago shows the current plan is to keep the main building’s 17-story height, through with a minor increase to 192 feet. The secondary building is just eight stories. The maximum number of residences shrinks to just 314. The parking remains the same at 250 spaces, which is surprising since this building is CTA-adjacent, and the Morgan Green/Pink line station is just two blocks away. Another curious element is the transformation of the existing curb cut for the current loading dock on North Peoria Street (the one under the giant “Bridgford Foods” sign) into a 61-foot long “people space” with an extra-wide sidewalk. And just when you thought hipsters were becoming a thing of the past, there’s a rooftop bocce court. Bridgford Foods deserves a big pat on the back for satisfying its 31-unit Affordable Housing obligation by including those units within the development, instead of writing a big fat check to shuffle the city’s baristas, teachers, doormen, shopgirls, and others who can’t normally afford to live downtown off to “somewhere else” where they won’t be seen. Details in the firehose: Operating address: 170 North Green Address: 158-182 North Green Street 833-857 West Lake Street 163-185 North Peoria Street Developer: Bridgford Foods Architecture firm: Hartshorn Plunkard Architects Net site area: 62,712 square feet Zoning: C-1 Neighborhood Commercial and C3-1 Commercial, Manufacturing and Employment District → DX-5 Downtown Mixed-Use → PD1354 Floor area ratio: 5.0 Amenity deck height: 37 feet Maximum building height: 210 feet Mechanical penthouse height: 202 feet Roof height: 192 feet Maximum number of residences: 314 Affordable housing obligation: 31 units Automobile parking: 250 spaces Parking garage access via North Peoria Street Bicycle parking: yes, but number of berths not specified Loading docks: 2, on West Randolph Street Residential entrance on North Green Street Green roof: 24,169 square feet Click to view the full article
  27. The “sizable” River West residential development we told you about back in October that will introduce a 23-story residential tower to the edge of Milwaukee Avenue and the banks of the Kennedy Expressway is a go. Rendering of The Mill (via Tandem) The Chicago Plan Commission has approved the project at 734 North Milwaukee Avenue which may or may not be going by the name “The Mill.” Commuters will see 226 new homes rise in a 266-foot-tall skyscraper along the busy Milwaukee Avenue corridor, and the even busier I-90/94. The project designed by Antunovich Associates for Tandem also includes ground floor retail space, offices, and parking for 97 cars and 166 bicycles. Because it’s the Milwaukee Corridor, where bicycles rule. The land this property is on will change from Light Industrial zoning to Residential Planned Development. It’s not the first in the area, and certainly not the last. As part of the deal, the blossoming sub-neighborhood will get a new park down the street in the sliver of weeds and bushes between the Ohio Street Ramps, West Erie Street, and North Milwaukee Street. Tandem hopes to have the building complete in 2019, which isn’t as far away as it sounds. Click to view the full article
  28. A historic church across the street from Lincoln Park will be saved from demolition, and find new life as a dance studio. Herman Baptist Church was founded in 1888 by Gold Coast domestics so they wouldn’t have to slog all the way to the South Side to go to church (part of the city’s history of segregating certain Christian denominations by race, ethnicity, and nationality). Two years ago, the building at 1754 North Clark Street was put up for sale. The site’s zoning sparked fears that it could be demolished to make way for tony townhouses, or a single, large four-story mansion. Rendering of the new Giordano Dance Chicago building (via bKL Architecture) Instead, the Chicago Plan Commission has approved a plan from Giordano Dance Chicago to build a new dance studio on the property, while simultaneously preserving the historic red brick church building. The melding of old and new is being done by The Loop’s bKL Architecture. It’s designed a 70-foot-tall geometric glass wave that will encompass the old building, while providing ground floor commercial space, a rooftop terrace, offices, and of course, dance studios. In the words of bKL: The façade design creates a juxtaposition between the old and the new and caters to the materiality of the old brick and the new transparent glass form. A grand, double-height entry welcomes visitors and invites passersby to explore the building’s transformative nature relating the church’s historic pitched roof form to its new modern glass enclosure. If you love the Spertus Institute’s South Michigan Avenue facade, imagine that married with the structure of the HumboldtBox in Berlin. Lots of buildings are described using the overworked word “inviting.” But this structure practically beckons, “Hey, come over here. Look at me. Touch me. Come on in. Yes, it’s jazz dance, but you don’t need a black beret and a dogeared copy of Nietzsche to enjoy it.” Perhaps when this new facility comes online, the partnership that Giordano Dance had with WTTW in the 1960’s can be rekindled and once again these Chicago artists can be featured on local airwaves. Hint, hint. Click to view the full article
  29. A historic church across the street from Lincoln Park will be saved from demolition, and find new life as a dance studio. Herman Baptist Church was founded in 1888 by Gold Coast domestics so they wouldn’t have to slog all the way to the South Side to go to church (part of the city’s history of segregating certain Christian denominations by race, ethnicity, and nationality). Two years ago, the building at 1754 North Clark Street was put up for sale. The site’s zoning sparked fears that it could be demolished to make way for tony townhouses, or a single, large four-story mansion. Rendering of the new Giordano Dance Chicago building (via bKL Architecture) Instead, the Chicago Plan Commission has approved a plan from Giordano Dance Chicago to build a new dance studio on the property, while simultaneously preserving the historic red brick church building. The melding of old and new is being done by The Loop’s bKL Architecture. It’s designed a 70-foot-tall geometric glass wave that will encompass the old building, while providing ground floor commercial space, a rooftop terrace, offices, and of course, dance studios. In the words of bKL: The façade design creates a juxtaposition between the old and the new and caters to the materiality of the old brick and the new transparent glass form. A grand, double-height entry welcomes visitors and invites passersby to explore the building’s transformative nature relating the church’s historic pitched roof form to its new modern glass enclosure. If you love the Spertus Institute’s South Michigan Avenue facade, imagine that married with the structure of the HumboldtBox in Berlin. Lots of buildings are described using the overworked word “inviting.” But this structure practically beckons, “Hey, come over here. Look at me. Touch me. Come on in. Yes, it’s jazz dance, but you don’t need a black beret and a dogeared copy of Nietzsche to enjoy it.” Perhaps when this new facility comes online, the partnership that Giordano Dance had with WTTW in the 1960’s can be rekindled and once again these Chicago artists can be featured on local airwaves. Hint, hint. Click to view the full article
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