After over a decade of vacancy and enduring numerous false-starts and broken deals, Chicago’s Old Post Office has sold to commercial real estate developer 601W Companies LLC, according to a statement by the city of Chicago. Owned by British-born businessman Bill Davies since 2009, the 2.5 million-square-foot art deco structure’s poor condition and lack of development drew the ire of Mayor Rahm Emanuel who threatened to acquire the riverfront site through eminent domain earlier this year.
Representatives of International Property Developers cried foul at City Hall’s plan, claiming that the Davies-owned venture had a pending deal with a serious development partner. Despite initial skepticism, the city agreed to put the acquisition of the building on hold after it was revealed that 601W was involved. New York-based firm is no stranger to the Chicago market, owning the Aon Center, Prudential Plaza, and the office complex at 600 W Chicago in the old Montgomery Ward warehouse building. The city did however impose a relatively short deadline of June 1 to complete the Post Office transaction.
Along with the announcement of the $130 million sale -- which Crain's details regarding 601W’s $500 million redevelopment plan for the site have also been release. A far cry from Davie’s most recent scheme to divide the hulking structure into a maze of 1,500 micro-apartments, 601W hopes to lure "commercial users attracted to the building’s 18-foot ceilings and 250,000 square-foot open floor spaces," according to a statement released by Mayor Emanuel.
The multi-phased plan will first address the neglected building’s most pressing code violation and would restore the deteriorated facade and windows. The renovation would eventually add new tenant amenities like a three-acre rooftop park and a sports and fitness center. The site’s prominent river frontage would see the addition of outdoor cafes and a landscaped riverwalk. Pre-leasing will begin next year with tenant occupancy anticipated to take place sometime in 2018.
- City says deal moves forward to redevelop Old Main Post Office [Chicago Tribune]
- City Delays Old Post Office Acquisition, Gives Owner Final Chance [Curbed Chicago]
- The Sad Saga of Chicago's Old Post Office Redevelopment [Curbed Chicago]