There's probably a sordid history to almost every downtown site, but Block 37's issues have been playing out publicly since Mayor Daley began pushing for wholesale demolition in the late-1980s. He won that round with preservationists, of course, and all but the Com Ed transformer station was bulldozed in 1989, including the landmark McCarthy Building at the southwest corner of the block. The five-story 1872 structure didn't stand a chance against the machine. In its place stands the 22 West Washington building— the only completed tower of three originally intended for the block. One was to be a hotel, which surely would've bolstered the struggling retail component. Speaking of that, the new mall is somewhere in the neighborhood of 75% vacant (for some time now) even though it's got new ownership. The city's longstanding plans for a massive intermodal station beneath the mall have been pushed to the far back burner if not entirely scuttled. But, hey, at least we're no longer confronted with a gigantic patch of dirt— the story of the site for nearly two decades. For those who don't know, Block 37 takes its name from the earliest organization of The Loop in 1830. It was block number 37 of 58. Yessiree, that was easy. It gets harder next time.
·Hint: Uncertain Change Came Abruptly to this Prime Site [Curbed Chicago]
·CornerSpotter [Curbed Chicago]