The Loop’s Monroe Hotel Boasts an Historic Lobby With Iron And Personality To Spare
Nov27

The Loop’s Monroe Hotel Boasts an Historic Lobby With Iron And Personality To Spare

    Most modern office structures have functional, and often, boring lobbies. It’s too bad, because the lobby can speak volumes about the history and personality of a building. A good example is the Monroe Building at 104 South Michigan Avenue. The Pritzker Military Museum & Library is housed on the upper floors, but the lobby is a historical curiosity in its own right. It’s been lovingly restored to look much like it...

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It Looks Like Any Other Hardware Store, but There’s a Jazzy Surprise Inside Meyers
Nov26

It Looks Like Any Other Hardware Store, but There’s a Jazzy Surprise Inside Meyers

The Ace Hardware web site gives you the hours of operation at Bronzeville’s Meyers Ace Hardware Store, and a reminder that Ace is the helpful hardware place. What’s not covered in the online write-up is that Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Dizzie Gillespie each spent time in the building at 315 East 35th Street. And they weren’t looking for crescent wrenches. You see, Meyers Ace Hardware is in the space that was once home to the...

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Near the Top of Willis Tower, Lunch With a View Awaits Members Of The Metropolitan Club
Nov25

Near the Top of Willis Tower, Lunch With a View Awaits Members Of The Metropolitan Club

When you think about it, the skyscraper offers an awe-inspiring view for both the person looking up from street level, and of course, those who look down from above. The view from up on high is definitely dramatic—even if you’re not at the very top. Take for example, the Metropolitan Club on the 66th and 67th floors of the Willis Tower (233 South Wacker Drive). It’s only two-thirds of the way up, but the Chicago skyline from that...

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Yeah, Why Don’t You Meet Me For Lunch At The Cat-Piloted Flying Saucer 
Nov24

Yeah, Why Don’t You Meet Me For Lunch At The Cat-Piloted Flying Saucer 

I don’t know about you, but the office I work in doesn’t have a tiki bar. Or an enchanted forest. Or a giant cat in a flying saucer. Well, you might have those amenities in your workplace… if you work for Groupon. You could probably call it whimsical, fun, funky, or maybe a little weird. Either way, this isn’t a silk-stocking law firm or a staid old bank. And the Groupon folks are probably just fine with their anti-corporate,...

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The Cubist Godfrey Hotel Provides A Modern Lodging For River North Guests
Nov21

The Cubist Godfrey Hotel Provides A Modern Lodging For River North Guests

Look across the Chicago skyline and you often see century-old buildings sitting side-by-side with new structures. Architecturally, they couldn’t look farther apart. But that’s what makes the cityscape here so interesting. Every era and popular design leaves its mark. The Godfrey Hotel Chicago at 127 West Huron Street is a good example. The hotel, which opened in early 2014, exhibits a modern, cubist style. It was one of the newer...

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Jewel Tower Scans With Plan Commission, Heads to City Hall’s Express Checkout
Nov20

Jewel Tower Scans With Plan Commission, Heads to City Hall’s Express Checkout

Just hours after the general public was given its first taste of the proposed new skyscraper and supermarket planned for the Gold Coast, the Chicago Plan Commission scanned it, threw it in a plastic bag and sent it off to the full city council for its rubber stamp of approval. It was just 44 hours and 18 minutes earlier that a packed crowd of neighbors gathered at the Thompson Hotel to see pictures of the proposed development at 1200...

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Gold Coast’s New Jewel Tower Gets Roughed
Nov19

Gold Coast’s New Jewel Tower Gets Roughed

When the final audience speaker of the evening praises Chicago’s NIMBY attitude for keeping the city honest and inhabitable, it might be hard to get a good read on the proceedings of a community meeting. Nevertheless, Tuesday evening a capacity room debated the merits and drawbacks of the new Jewel flagship store and 390-unit apartment tower proposed to replace the existing Gold Coast store at 1200 North Clark Street. The...

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DIRTT Environmental Solutions Boasts Airy, Open Work Environment At Rivers Edge
Nov19

DIRTT Environmental Solutions Boasts Airy, Open Work Environment At Rivers Edge

A number of times when I’ve interviewed for jobs over the years, there’s been a temptation to ask whether the office has windows. I find windowless office spaces grim and depressing. Studies have shown that workers operate more efficiently when they’re exposed to daylight. That’s why when I walked into the DIRTT Environmental Solutions’ Green Learning Center at 325 North Wells Street, I thought, “Man, I could work here.” I suppose...

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From High Atop Michigan Avenue, The Cliff Dwellers Club Offers A Gathering Place For Patrons Of The Arts
Nov18

From High Atop Michigan Avenue, The Cliff Dwellers Club Offers A Gathering Place For Patrons Of The Arts

“We eat a lot of lunches here—it’s a gathering place for conversation.” That—and a stunning view—is the essence of the Cliff Dwellers. The club atop 200 South Michigan Avenue is a haven and hangout for patrons of the arts. It also was one of the 150 unique locations offered up by the Chicago Architecture Foundation for the 2014 Open House Chicago. Cliff Dwellers was founded in 1907 by Hamlin Garland, an author prominent in the arts...

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Tip-Top-Tap Renovation To Restore The Grand Old Allerton Hotel To Former Glory
Nov11

Tip-Top-Tap Renovation To Restore The Grand Old Allerton Hotel To Former Glory

I remember 50 years ago when my parents took me to New York City for the first time and I saw the Pan Am Building, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. The majesty, the character, the size and scope of those iconic buildings was a memory I’ve carried for many years. Not long after that trip to Manhattan, we made the trek from tiny O’Fallon, Illinois to Chicago for the first time. Of course, I remember the Tribune...

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