Watching UK developer Bill Davies try to get something done with the massive, vacant Old Chicago Main Post Office he purchased five years ago has been sort of like watching a train fall down a cliff in slow motion - ok, maybe it's not that dramatic. However, the site is just oozing with potential: it's a humongous structure with factory-style open floor plans that could allow endless reconfiguration, a prime location on the river near Union Station, it's sandwiched between two booming neighborhoods, and it's just really a beautiful timeless art deco building. Just to add another cherry on top, earlier this year news broke that developer Sterling Bay had been brought in by Davies to help get this project off the ground. What could go wrong? Well, so far, pretty much everything.
Despite years of promises and lofty design ambitions, there hasn't been a single step toward actually developing the property. Crain's reported yesterday that the partnership with Sterling Bay has dissolved, and Davies is now back to square one: no money, no discernible plans, just the deed to a huge building that a host of local developers would be lining up to make offers on.
Reportedly, after Sterling Bay found Davies too difficult to work with they offered to buy the building for over six times what he paid for it, but the offshore developer wouldn't have any of it. One's mind might wander to another dream project in town lead by a British Isles developer that can't help but keep crashing into the ground, more specifically a giant hole in the ground. We're in one of the biggest construction booms this city has seen in quite some time, and Chicago-based developers have had little trouble getting cash in-hand and construction cranes on-site, so perhaps it's in everybody's interest if Bill Davies just lets go of the long-vacant Old Main Post Office.