A strip of urine-soaked concrete, and scraggly trees in the heart of Streeterville will remain closer to urban blight than urban paradise for the foreseeable future.
Ogden Plaza was reconstructed as recently as 1990 in a design by Lohan Associates. Its centerpiece is a giant clock sculpture by Vito Acconci that counter-intuitively does not function as a sundial.
There had been hope that new development bordering Ogden Plaza (429 North Columbus Drive) would result in the urban park being renovated. But according to alderman Brendan Reilly, that’s not going to happen.
Reilly planned to press DRW Investments, the developers of the new hotel and apartment tower next door at 435 North Park Drive, to include rebuilding the park as part of the deal to get city approval for the project. But the world is more complicated than that.
It turns out that there is an ongoing lawsuit between the company that leases the parking garage under the park and the Chicago Park District.
According to the alderman, the roof is leaking and has caused some damage to the garage below. There is some disagreement over who is responsible for the leak and the damage, and it is apparently a very contentious dispute.
So contentious that the city’s law department made it clear to the alderman that Ogden Plaza is a tar baby at this point, and if he’s looking for concessions from DRW he should look elsewhere.