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  1. Remember when the Near North NIMBY brigade complained that the project called Old Town Park that’s replacing the time-worn Atrium Village was just too many towers? Better late than never, they’re getting their wish. Vancouver’s Onni Group, the developer of Old Town Park have a new plan for the project, and it involves ditching a 39-story residential tower, keeping a nine-story building, and re-orienting the remaining skyscrapers. In the image below you can see what was formerly planned, and what we’re looking at today. Comparison of Old Town Park configurations Building Four is what’s out the window. It was to be a 39-story, 395-foot-tall residential tower on the south side of West Division Street at the CTA Brown/Purple line tracks. Also taking a hike is its serpentine four-story parking podium that would have run along the entire western limit of the property. Instead, that area will be filled in largely with park space, along with a bit of surface parking. Old Town Park under construction. You can see the to-be-saved nine-story building just to the left of Tower One. (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!) Tower Three, which was to run north-south near the middle of the property’s West Hill Street frontage has been re-oriented so that now it is going to be an east-west block hard against Hill Street. This will free up some light and air for the center of the property, and reduce the shadows that will fall on the existing nine-story residential building which will not be torn down after all. Still, Tower Three gets a height boost from 35 to 39 stories, as does Tower Two (202 West Hill Street) which increases from 337 homes across 31 stories and 340 feet to 428 homes across 39 stories and 430 feet. It will keep its location on the northwest corner of Wells and Hill Streets, but becomes more square instead of a thin north-south rectangle. Building Two’s parking podium increases from three to six stories, which matches Building One. It also makes room for a total of 426 parking spaces, up from 253. Earlier this month we told you that Building One had already been given a small height boost. Building Five, a small four-story residential building on Division also disappears, along with almost all of the project’s townhouses. These were mostly used to cleverly camouflage the tower parking podiums, similar to what’s been done at Lakeshore East, and something we’d like to see more of because of the positive impact it can have on the feel of a neighborhood. It’s a drastic reconfiguration of the project. The result is an increase of about 6, 400 square feet of green space. Click to view the full article
  2. Remember when the Near North NIMBY brigade complained that the project called Old Town Park that’s replacing the time-worn Atrium Village was just too many towers? Better late than never, they’re getting their wish. Vancouver’s Onni Group, the developer of Old Town Park have a new plan for the project, and it involves ditching a 39-story residential tower, keeping a nine-story building, and re-orienting the remaining skyscrapers. In the image below you can see what was formerly planned, and what we’re looking at today. Comparison of Old Town Park configurations Building Four is what’s out the window. It was to be a 39-story, 395-foot-tall residential tower on the south side of West Division Street at the CTA Brown/Purple line tracks. Also taking a hike is its serpentine four-story parking podium that would have run along the entire western limit of the property. Instead, that area will be filled in largely with park space, along with a bit of surface parking. Old Town Park under construction. You can see the to-be-saved nine-story building just to the left of Tower One. (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!) Tower Three, which was to run north-south near the middle of the property’s West Hill Street frontage has been re-oriented so that now it is going to be an east-west block hard against Hill Street. This will free up some light and air for the center of the property, and reduce the shadows that will fall on the existing nine-story residential building which will not be torn down after all. Still, Tower Three gets a height boost from 35 to 39 stories, as does Tower Two (202 West Hill Street) which increases from 337 homes across 31 stories and 340 feet to 428 homes across 39 stories and 430 feet. It will keep its location on the northwest corner of Wells and Hill Streets, but becomes more square instead of a thin north-south rectangle. Building Two’s parking podium increases from three to six stories, which matches Building One. It also makes room for a total of 426 parking spaces, up from 253. Earlier this month we told you that Building One had already been given a small height boost. Building Five, a small four-story residential building on Division also disappears, along with almost all of the project’s townhouses. These were mostly used to cleverly camouflage the tower parking podiums, similar to what’s been done at Lakeshore East, and something we’d like to see more of because of the positive impact it can have on the feel of a neighborhood. It’s a drastic reconfiguration of the project. The result is an increase of about 6, 400 square feet of green space. Click to view the full article
  3. It was in January of 2016 when we were the first to let the cat out of the bag on the new development at 700 West Chicago Avenue in Chicago’s Goose Island neighborhood. 755 words called What Downtown Chicago’s Next Master Planned Community Might Look Like, complete with renderings showing the future of the property, a history of how Trib ended up with such a nice piece of land on its hands, and an exploration of the zoning issues involved with what is still a mixed bag of PMD-5 and M3-3. While some readers happily lapped from the milk dish of wisdom, others were unhappy that we loosed the moggie from its sack. Seriously unhappy. Like voicemail and phone calls unhappy. Rendering of 700 on the River (Goettsch Partners) So it was with no small interest that we read the Chicago Tribune’s article last week officially announcing a new development on that property called 700 at the River. Obviously, 21 months later, the plan has been significantly refined, though the central strategy of three office buildings and one residential tower that we reported back then has not. In the lists below is what we currently know about 700, as filed in paperwork with the city. But even that is not set in concrete and rebar. The city is giving the developers some flexibility with Building Two to allow them to adapt to changing market conditions. Which means that the central tower could end up with as many as 620 residences, or 310 residences plus 620 hotel rooms. Overall Project Address: 640 West Chicago Avenue Address: 801 North Halsted Street Developer: Riverside/700 West Investors For realsies: Riverside Investment & Development and Tribune Media Company Architecture firm: Goettsch Partners Zoning: M3-3 & DS-5 → DX-5 → Waterway Planned Residential Development Net site area: 309,277 square feet (a little over seven acres) Floor area ratio: 5.0 Automobile parking: 540 spaces Bicycle parking: 50 spaces Loading docks: six Riverfront park: 4.5 acres Riverwalk: Minimum 30 feet wide Public Open during Park District hours Must be complete within one year of the first building opening Building One (East Tower) Net site area: 159,162 square feet Floor area ratio: 2.85 Building size: 453,487 square feet Planned height: 220 feet Floors: 12 Zoned for a boat dock (hello, water taxi!) Building Two (Central Tower) Net site area: 29,033 square feet Floor area ratio: 10.65 Building size: 309,277 square feet Planned height: 340 feet Planned floors: 26 Maximum height: 610 feet Residences: 310 Zoned for a large entertainment venue Zoned for a boat dock (hello, water taxi!) Building Three (Southwest Tower) Net site area: 52,044 square feet Floor area ratio: 8.42 Planned height: 320 feet Planned floors: 19 Building size: 438,421 square feet Building Four (Northwest Tower) Net site area: 69,038 square feet Floor area ratio: 5.0 Planned height: 260 feet Floors: 15 Building size: 345,200 square feet Zoned for a boat dock (hello, water taxi!) Click to view the full article
  4. It was in January of 2016 when we were the first to let the cat out of the bag on the new development at 700 West Chicago Avenue in Chicago’s Goose Island neighborhood. 755 words called What Downtown Chicago’s Next Master Planned Community Might Look Like, complete with renderings showing the future of the property, a history of how Trib ended up with such a nice piece of land on its hands, and an exploration of the zoning issues involved with what is still a mixed bag of PMD-5 and M3-3. While some readers happily lapped from the milk dish of wisdom, others were unhappy that we loosed the moggie from its sack. Seriously unhappy. Like voicemail and phone calls unhappy. Rendering of 700 on the River (Goettsch Partners) So it was with no small interest that we read the Chicago Tribune’s article last week officially announcing a new development on that property called 700 at the River. Obviously, 21 months later, the plan has been significantly refined, though the central strategy of three office buildings and one residential tower that we reported back then has not. In the lists below is what we currently know about 700, as filed in paperwork with the city. But even that is not set in concrete and rebar. The city is giving the developers some flexibility with Building Two to allow them to adapt to changing market conditions. Which means that the central tower could end up with as many as 620 residences, or 310 residences plus 620 hotel rooms. Overall Project Address: 640 West Chicago Avenue Address: 801 North Halsted Street Developer: Riverside/700 West Investors For realsies: Riverside Investment & Development and Tribune Media Company Architecture firm: Goettsch Partners Zoning: M3-3 & DS-5 → DX-5 → Waterway Planned Residential Development Net site area: 309,277 square feet (a little over seven acres) Floor area ratio: 5.0 Automobile parking: 540 spaces Bicycle parking: 50 spaces Loading docks: six Riverfront park: 4.5 acres Riverwalk: Minimum 30 feet wide Public Open during Park District hours Must be complete within one year of the first building opening Building One (East Tower) Net site area: 159,162 square feet Floor area ratio: 2.85 Building size: 453,487 square feet Planned height: 220 feet Floors: 12 Zoned for a boat dock (hello, water taxi!) Building Two (Central Tower) Net site area: 29,033 square feet Floor area ratio: 10.65 Building size: 309,277 square feet Planned height: 340 feet Planned floors: 26 Maximum height: 610 feet Residences: 310 Zoned for a large entertainment venue Zoned for a boat dock (hello, water taxi!) Building Three (Southwest Tower) Net site area: 52,044 square feet Floor area ratio: 8.42 Planned height: 320 feet Planned floors: 19 Building size: 438,421 square feet Building Four (Northwest Tower) Net site area: 69,038 square feet Floor area ratio: 5.0 Planned height: 260 feet Floors: 15 Building size: 345,200 square feet Zoned for a boat dock (hello, water taxi!) Click to view the full article
  5. A huge development in the heart of the Near West Side has been approved by the Chicago Plan Commission. Nearly all recent ground-up projects in the neighborhood have been less than a half or even a quarter block in size. So you can imagine the notoriously anti-development people in the area lost their minds when this project, called Union West, came down the pike. Rendering of Union West (Courtesy off bKL Architecture) But the character and demographics of the area are changing, so Union West only had to undergo modest changes from its first introduction to approval yesterday afternoon. What started as 442 apartments became 405 apartments, and was greenlit with 358 apartment divided between a pair of 15-story towers with ground floor retail space. They each clock in a 196 feet tall. The larger-capacity plans were 17-stories. The bKL-designed project is a mere two blocks from the CTA’s Morgan Green and Pink line L station, and right on Madison Street, one of the city’s busiest east-west bus corridors. Still, it has 250 on-site parking spaces. Click to view the full article
  6. Dirt Moving for New Near North Hotel

    One of our more alert readers noticed that earth movers have started moving earth at the northwest corner of Clark and Huron Streets. Clark and Huron is a former surface parking lot that has tried to better itself a number of times in the last decade, with the wheel of fortune finally landing on a 215-room hotel late last year. 100 West Huron under construction (Courtesy of Near North Spy Jody) Near North Spy Jody checked in to our tip line with pictures of 100 West Huron, or at least the ruckus and rubble that is preceding the NORR-designed hotel. The building has gone through a number of changes in the last 18 months or so. We last checked in on it this past October, but it received another revision in December, so here are the revised stats: Address: 100 West Huron Street Address: 700 North Clark Street Developer: AP 100 W. Huron Property LLC For realsies: Akara Partners Floor Area Ratio: 10.25 (7.0 base + 1.75 Affordable Housing + 1.0 Upper Level Setback + 0.50 Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus) Maximum hotel rooms: 215 (up 15 from October) Loading dock: one Parking spaces: zero Maximum height: 180 feet, one inch Architecture firm: NORR Green roof alert: 4,135 square feet The evolution of 100 West Huron Click to view the full article
  7. Chicago Gets a New Downtown Spire

    The Chicago Spire is like the big mole on Aunt Margie’s chin with the hair growing out of it: Everyone knows all about it, but nobody will talk about it for fear of embarrassment. While the plan to put up a 150-story, 2,000-foot-tall spire on Chicago’s lakefront failed and is only spoken of in hushed tones, a more modest spire has managed to silently climb into the River North Skyline. LDS chapel under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!) It’s the spire at the new chapel for the Church of Latter Day Saints in at 822 North Clark Street in downtown Chicago, seen in the photograph above from Joe Zekas at YoChicago!. The building, designed by David Dixon of Dixon+Associates in Salt Lake City, and will have three levels of office and meeting space above four levels of parking. It will accommodate several local LDS congregations on Sundays, plus provide meeting and activity space during the week. On the outside, the building could pass for a library or another stately institution. But the spire on the south end is the giveaway, especially if you’re familiar with the look of the majority of LDS buildings erected in the last couple of decades. The rest of the structure has been “Chicagofied” compared with the usual LDS outposts, according to one observer who notes that its verticality and brick facade fit in well with the neighborhood’s existing aesthetic. Click to view the full article
  8. Chicago Gets a New Downtown Spire

    The Chicago Spire is like the big mole on Aunt Margie’s chin with the hair growing out of it: Everyone knows all about it, but nobody will talk about it for fear of embarrassment. While the plan to put up a 150-story, 2,000-foot-tall spire on Chicago’s lakefront failed and is only spoken of in hushed tones, a more modest spire has managed to silently climb into the River North Skyline. LDS chapel under construction (Courtesy of Joe Zekas/YoChicago!) It’s the spire at the new chapel for the Church of Latter Day Saints in at 822 North Clark Street in downtown Chicago, seen in the photograph above from Joe Zekas at YoChicago!. The building, designed by David Dixon of Dixon+Associates in Salt Lake City, and will have three levels of office and meeting space above four levels of parking. It will accommodate several local LDS congregations on Sundays, plus provide meeting and activity space during the week. On the outside, the building could pass for a library or another stately institution. But the spire on the south end is the giveaway, especially if you’re familiar with the look of the majority of LDS buildings erected in the last couple of decades. The rest of the structure has been “Chicagofied” compared with the usual LDS outposts, according to one observer who notes that its verticality and brick facade fit in well with the neighborhood’s existing aesthetic. Click to view the full article
  9. One of our favorite construction projects of 2017 has reached a milestone. Construction at One Bennett Park, the condos-over-apartments stack at 451 East Grand Avenue has reached the 50th floor. Rendering of One Bennett Park (Courtesy of Related Midwest) That means with this latest concrete pour, the Related Midwest skyscraper is at 71% of its eventual 70-floor stature. If you’d like to measure its progress in height, then it’s up to 540 feet; or 65% of its eventual 836-foot height. Press release follows the photos. CONSTRUCTION UPDATE: One Bennett Park Reaches 50th Floor Completion of Chicago’s tallest all-residential tower on schedule for early 2019 CHICAGO – Related Midwest today announced that crews are pouring the 50th floor of One Bennett Park, the developer’s ultra-luxury residential tower at 451 E. Grand Ave. in Streeterville, as the tower climbs toward its full height of 70 stories. The 49th-floor deck and 50th-floor core walls are being poured this week, bringing the structure to more than 540 feet. “We’re excited to be working on One Bennett Park’s spectacular condominiums, crafted by Robert A.M. Stern Architects as vertical homes with gracious living spaces, unparalleled luxury finishes and sweeping lake and city views,” said Curt Bailey, president of Related Midwest. “As One Bennett Park’s residences rise, other distinctive features – everything from the grand motor court to the limestone-clad base – are gradually taking shape, each bringing us one step closer to realizing our vision for a tower unmatched in design and craftsmanship.” Also under construction is Bennett Park, an adjacent 1.7-acre green space designed by Michael Van Valkenburg Associates, whose other Chicago projects include Maggie Daley Park, The 606 and the Barack Obama Presidential Center. Crews have outlined the treescapes and foot paths that will meander through Bennett Park, which in addition to serving residents via their own private entrance, will also be open to the public. When complete in 2019, the park will feature native plantings and rolling topography that divides the area into four distinct experiences: a lawn bowl; play bowl, complete with a children’s playground; shade grove; and dog run with separate areas for small and large breeds. “It’s now possible to stand out on the terrace overlooking the park and get a glimpse of the urban oasis residents will see every day simply by walking outside,” said Don Biernacki, senior vice president of construction at Related Midwest. “The views from the residential floors are equally breathtaking, providing a new vantage point from which Lake Michigan and the surrounding cityscape can be experienced. I’m incredibly proud of the team we’ve assembled and the progress we’ve made together as One Bennett Park claims its spot in the downtown skyline.” Chicago-based Lendlease is serving as the project’s general contractor, while Chicago-based GREC is the architect of record. Slated to be Chicago’s tallest all-residential tower, One Bennett Park broke ground in February 2016, with completion scheduled for early 2019. The community’s 279 apartments and first condominium residences will deliver in fall 2018. Located on floors 41 through 66, the 69 condominium residences at One Bennett Park include two-, three- and four-bedroom plans averaging 3,200 square feet. In addition to the full suite of apartment amenities, owners will have access to an exclusive floor of amenities on level 41, as well as their own porte cochère and lobby on the lower level. Related Midwest is currently offering a selection of condominiums ranging in size from 1,737 to 7,500 square feet and priced between $1.9 million and $15 million. For more information on One Bennett Park, visit www.onebennettpark.com. Click to view the full article
  10. Hello world!

    Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing! Click to view the full article
  11. The opening of the new Steve Jobs theater at Apple Park in Cupertino, California wasn’t the only architecture news of note today. During Apple’s annual iPhone presentation, a portion of the show was given over to the technology company’s Senior Vice President of Retail, Angela Ahrendts. She let the world know that the new Apple Store at Pioneer Court on Michigan Avenue will open October 20th. Apple Senior Vice President of Retail, Angela Ahrendts in front of a rendering of Chicago’s Apple Store Pioneer Court at the Steve Jobs Theater (via AppleTV) “Our team has designed a spectacular pavilion that seamlessly connects the plaza to the promenade as part of the city’s plan to transform the Chicago riverfront,” Ahrendts said. She referred to the shop as “Apple Michigan Avenue.” She also said that Apple no longer calls their outlets “Apple Stores,” but instead “Apple Town Squares.” Which is going to be awkward for those Apple Stores located in malls that call themselves Town Square. There is going to be at least one Apple Town Square Town Square. Apple Senior Vice President of Retail, Angela Ahrendts in front of a rendering of Chicago’s Apple Store Pioneer Court at the Steve Jobs Theater (via AppleTV) Click to view the full article
  12. If you’re looking for luxury digs near Holy Name Cathedral, but don’t feel like spending $70 million to combine the top four floors of an unnamed hyper-lux skyscraper under construction nearby, CA Ventures has the building for you. Rendering of 8 East Huron (Courtesy of CA Ventures and the Habitat Company) You can now pre-live at 8 East Huron, the 26-story Valerio Dewalt Train Associates-designed building that recent went into pre-leasing mode on the corner of State and Huron in the city’s Near North neighborhood. We’ve been following 8 East Huron for a couple of years, since it was just rumors about maximizing the value of two 1889 graystones. Those buildings are just a memory now, and what’s replaced them appears to be a solid entry into the re-population of downtown Chicago. The 102-unit building sports such high-end punchlist items as quartz countertops (granite went out with stainless steel appliances), custom cabinets, and the potential for plumbing fixtures from our friends across the border in Kohler, Wisconsin. In a city where the apartment amenity arms race has brought us to the point that a building in River North has its own bard, 8 East isn’t being left behind. Its nuclear amenity is a private, curated art collection. Which is a great idea if you’re an art lover. And an even better idea if you’re offended by the idea of having to pay $30 a head to visit the Art Institute. (You can always pop down to Saint Louis where its near-equal art museum is free!) Press release follows the photos. Pre-Leasing Begins at Boutique Rental Tower 8 East Huron in Chicago’s River North First move-ins at 26-story,102-unit luxury apartment building slated for October 2017 CHICAGO — CA Residential LLC, the multifamily investment and development division of Chicago-based CA Ventures, has announced the start of pre-leasing at 8 East Huron, a 102-unit boutique luxury rental building in Chicago’s River North neighborhood that is scheduled to open this fall. Luxury Living Chicago Realty is the exclusive marketing and leasing brokerage for the 26-story tower, while The Habitat Company will manage the property. “8 East Huron is the ideal residential option for today’s sophisticated urban renter who has graduated from living in a massive high-rise but still wants five-star amenities with access to everything the River North and Gold Coast neighborhoods have to offer,” said Bob Flannery, chief operating officer of CA Ventures. “Nearly all apartments are corner units, with only four units on some floors. A central location in one of the most desirable downtown neighborhoods puts residents within walking distance of the city’s greatest amenities, including the shops and restaurants of the Gold Coast and Magnificent Mile. Yet, for all the action outside its front door, 8 East Huron provides a level of intimacy and privacy rarely available in a full-amenity rental building.” Wrapped entirely in glass, the building boasts spectacular city views and its own private art collection curated by the Chicago Art Source and displayed throughout common areas. The community’s junior one-, one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as ultra-luxury three-bedroom, 3½-bath suites located on the 22nd and 23rd floors, range in size from 540 to 2,680 square feet, with rents between $2,195 and $15,995. All units are outfitted with high-end finishes, including wood plank flooring throughout living areas, Miele appliances, quartz countertops, custom Snaidero cabinetry, and Grohe and Kohler plumbing fixtures. In addition, apartments include in-unit washer and dryer, with private balconies in select plans. 8 East Huron also features 8,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenity space, located on the 24th floor. Amenities include an outdoor infinity-edge stainless steel pool adjacent to a sun deck and outdoor grilling stations. Additionally, residents will have access to a demonstration kitchen with professional-grade appliances; resident lounge; media room; fitness center with yoga room; and on-site pet spa with dog run. The amenity offerings will be complemented by an extensive service staff that includes a 24-hour concierge attendant. “8 East Huron is an exciting example of what Chicago renters can expect when three world-class industry experts — CA Ventures, Habitat and Luxury Living Chicago – work together to redefine upscale rental living in the city,” said Sheila Byrne, executive vice president of property management of The Habitat Company. “Beyond its prime location, this building will exceed the expectations of discerning residents who demand thoughtfully designed floor plans, service-based conveniences and top-notch amenities – all with a twist of innovation and creativity.” Because the building is still under construction, the Luxury Living Chicago leasing team is offering a virtual realty experience that allows interested renters to see select apartments and amenities from every angle, just as if they were standing in the real building. “8 East Huron is such an impressive building that we couldn’t just tell renters what they could expect from it; we wanted them to experience it for themselves,” said Aaron Galvin, founder and CEO of Luxury Living Chicago Realty. “Unique amenities like the modern rooftop with its infinity-edge stainless steel pool come to life through the VR tour, allowing prospective residents to envision themselves relaxing by the pool or grilling with friends. Response from the market has been tremendous, with the building already 20 percent pre-leased.” Residents of 8 East Huron will be steps away from a host of conveniences and entertainment options, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Eataly, the AMC 600 North Michigan 9 movie theater and numerous restaurants. Leasing for 8 East Huron is currently being conducted by appointment only. For more information on the community, or to schedule a virtual reality tour, visit www.8easthuron.com. Click to view the full article
  13. Registration recently opened for a design competition for Chicago high school students interested in architecture. Students are asked to come up with a design for a public library that also functions as a public gathering space. Imagine dozens of small libraries scattered throughout the city. The challenge is that the library has to be small in size, but big on amenities. Small means cheap, and the goal is to come up with a scheme that can be deployed in small spaces around the city. The fictional setting for this libraryette is a 75×125′ lot in what’s left of Little Italy. We love the idea of dozens and dozens of micro-libraries scattered around the city, serving traditional bibliographic needs as well as the need for “third spaces” in a city increasingly hostile to public loitering without spending $6 on a cup of coffee. (Remember when Chicago had public benches on the sidewalks?) We look forward to seeing the designs, and hope some of them are good enough to be implemented. Or at least to inspire City Hall bureaucrats. The contest is sponsored by British Petroleum and run by the Chicago Architecture Foundation as part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Prizes? Oh, yes, there are prizes. But nobody is saying exactly what they are just yet. All we’ve been able to find out is “free design software and varying cash prizes.” If that’s enough to get your kid’s creative juices flowing, then clicketh thy mouse hereth for more information. Click to view the full article
  14. Registration recently opened for a design competition for Chicago high school students interested in architecture. Students are asked to come up with a design for a public library that also functions as a public gathering space. Imagine dozens of small libraries scattered throughout the city. The challenge is that the library has to be small in size, but big on amenities. Small means cheap, and the goal is to come up with a scheme that can be deployed in small spaces around the city. The fictional setting for this libraryette is a 75×125′ lot in what’s left of Little Italy. We love the idea of dozens and dozens of micro-libraries scattered around the city, serving traditional bibliographic needs as well as the need for “third spaces” in a city increasingly hostile to public loitering without spending $6 on a cup of coffee. (Remember when Chicago had public benches on the sidewalks?) We look forward to seeing the designs, and hope some of them are good enough to be implemented. Or at least to inspire City Hall bureaucrats. The contest is sponsored by British Petroleum and run by the Chicago Architecture Foundation as part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Prizes? Oh, yes, there are prizes. But nobody is saying exactly what they are just yet. All we’ve been able to find out is “free design software and varying cash prizes.” If that’s enough to get your kid’s creative juices flowing, then clicketh thy mouse hereth for more information. Click to view the full article
  15. At its regular monthly meeting tomorrow, a committee of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks will consider a request to allow the conversion of the former Johnson Publishing Building (820 South Michigan Avenue) from offices to residential use. 820 South Michigan Avenue, formerly the Johnson Publishing Building (File photo) The 11-story brutalist building designed by John W. Moutoussamy was the headquarters of the Johnson empire for decades — a media conglomerate best known for decades for its Ebony and Jet magazines. Johnson sold the building to Columbia College in 2010. At the time, the plan was to turn it into a library, but the institution changed its mind several years later. Now 3LRE, a real estate developer in northwest suburban Rosemont, wants to add another floor to the building, plus a roof deck, while converting the office space below into 150 residences. There will also be ground-floor retail space, a must for Michigan Avenue frontage across the street from Grant park. To lighten up the building’s interiors, a new light well will be built on the back (western) side of the structure. The new homes will also feature windows that open, allowing fresh Lake Michigan air inside. It appears that the iconic Ebony/Jet sign may be allowed to remain on top of the building. In its recommendation to approve the conversion, the Permit Review Committee wrote, “The 1-story rooftop addition proposed behind the existing rooftop sign wall is approved as proposed.” Hopefully Michigan Avenue will get to keep this heritage. In recent years the boulevard has been de-signed, losing the huge neon Torco sign, the Santa Fe sign, the Borg Warner sign, and probably others we’ve forgotten about. Click to view the full article
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