In the five years since the gigantic Old Main Post Office was bought by foreign investor Bill Davies, there's been a constant state of befuddlement as to just what the heck the historic building will be used for. Elaborate three-phased, supertall megadevelopments have been proposed, along with rumors ranging from Chicago's first downtown casino to Walgreen's new home, but today there is actual news that sheds some light on the future of the building. Chicago-based real estate developer Sterling Bay has partnered with Davies to head the redevelopment of the impressive structure, Crain's reports. If Sterling Bay sounds familiar, it's because they've been the major force behind the recent development boom in the West Loop. They're the firm behind the Fulton Cold Storage rehab that's soon to become Google's Chicago headquarters, and also the folks who just took over nearby Harpo Studios with plans for a major mixed-used development. While the idea of a Davies-lead development taking off has made local real estate experts roll their eyes, Sterling Bay's proven track record of local development and dealmaking gives them new hope.
The 2.7 million square foot building is expected to need $500 million in rehabilitation just to the existing structure itself before any talk of plopping skyscrapers on top of it are likely to surface. Despite its age, it's easy to imagine the property becoming an attractive modern office space, just as Merchandise Mart and 600 W. Chicago's warehouse-purposed large, uninterrupted floor plates and high ceilings have had no problem filling up with trendy, high-tech tenants like Groupon, Motorola Mobility, Braintree, and 1871.
· Google's developer finds a new project: the Old Post Office [Crain's Real Estate Daily]
· Previous Old Main Post Office coverage [Curbed Chicago]