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Old Main Post Office Development Working Towards Legitimacy

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International Property Developers (IPD), vehicle of British investor Bill Davies, and architect Joe Antunovich are back to painting another of their broad canvases of how the Old Post Office mega development might take shape. The scale and design of the master plan has taken shots from critics. Even with a phased approach, it's hard to fathom the successful leasing of 800,000 square feet of new retail. But, like the tower heights (up to 2,000 feet) and residential count (total of 6,400), this projection is still highly changeable.

The overall plan hasn't evolved a whole lot since its 2011 introduction. The reason we're even discussing it today is because of last night's public presentation. Joe Antunovich did the heavy lifting, putting his renderings up for scrutiny and fielding questions. The tower forms have changed somewhat, although crisp detail is lacking. The supertall looks more like Willis now, and the two secondary towers are more cylindrical than before. IPD submitted plans to the city in December and the Chicago Architecture Blog reports that they're hoping for approval in a couple of months. The first phase, expected to take 5-7 years to complete, involves the following:

·Old Post Office rehab with 800,000 sf of retail and four levels of parking
·Addition of a six-story parking garage for a total of 5,700 spaces
·100-story tower
·2,900 residential units
·525,000 sf of office space
·320 hotel rooms

The second phase, with no targeted date, adds:

·2,000 sf tower
·3,500 residential units
·1.5 million sf of office space
·920 hotel rooms

With the entire parking provision arriving in the first phase, and the transformation of the centerpiece post office into what amounts to a mall and parking garage, an obvious knock on the plan is its suburban mentality. If you need an example of how wonderfully dysfunctional malls can be in the urban core, just drop by Block 37. A casino may make the whole thing more workable, as it would gobble up wads of space and draw in population. Ald. Daniel Solis (25th) voiced his support for this at last night's meeting. For several more views of the mega project, head on over to the Chicago Architecture Blog.
·Old Post Office Development Back On Track [CAB]
·Big new plans for Chicago's Old Main Post Office [Chicago Grid]
·Plan for old post office complex: financial fantasy, architectural nightmare [Trib]
·Old Post Office Coverage [Curbed Chicago]