While years of non action from overseas owner Bill Davies prompted the City of Chicago to move forward with a plan to acquire the abandoned 2.7-million-square-foot Old Post Office through eminent domain, it appears that Davies’ claim of a pending deal with a "major partner" was more than just an empty, time-buying bluff. This morning Crain’s Chicago Business revealed that 601W Companies, the owners of Chicago’s Aon Center and Prudential Plaza, have entered into an agreement to buy the dilapidated art deco building from Davies.
The pending sale of the Old Post Office is the third such deal that Davies’ International Property Developers North America has announced in as many years. Previous deals with Chicago’s Sterling Bay and Gulf Resources Development & Investment in the United Arab Emirates respectively fell apart in 2014 and 2015. According to a Davies’ representative, the latest deal — reportedly in the works for nine months — is unique since it represents the first time a potential buyer has actually put the property under contract. The developer is optimistic and believes that the sale will be completed in the next 90 days, according to Crain’s.
Despite Davies’ recent announcement and 601W’s proven track record in the commercial/office segment, City Hall appears to be committed to its original plan to use eminent domain on the Old Post Office and put the property out for competitive bidding. Chicago Planning Commissioner David Reifman encouraged 601W Companies to join other firms in answering the city’s request for proposal (RFP) due on June 10 of this year. Earlier this month a Davies’ representative claimed that the British-born investor would not give up the Post Office property without a fight. If 601W is as intensely invested in the sale as Davies’ people claim, expect this developing saga to get even messier and potentially land in court.
·The Sad Saga of Chicago's Old Post Office Redevelopment [Curbed Chicago]