The Loop Getting a New Pocket Park
An area of Chicago’s Loop that has been rapidly changing from 19th century storefronts to 21st century skyscrapers is going to have a touch of green.
An agreement has been reached with the developers of 155 North Wacker Drive to also develop a park adjacent to the nearly completed skyscraper.
In the way of the park are a grouping of serviceable, if unremarkable, buildings:
- 300 West Randolph – Built in 1875, and formerly known as the Sherman House of the Showmen’s League of America, which was founded in Chicago and had Buffalo Bill Cody as its first president.
- 304 West Randolph – Built in 1938. It replaced a speakeasy which federal agents busted in 1933 for buying illegal whiskey from footmen for Hymie Levine, who was in charge of selling bootleg beer in The Loop for Al Capone.
- 308 West Randolph – Built in 1929.
- 310 West Randolph – Built in 1927 for N.K. Aranoff and Associates at a cost of $250,000. It was built as a factory disguised as an office building and replaced a house on the site. The building was one of many in Chicago designed to be vertically extended if necessary. Its design can support several extra stories. The building was designed by Albert Anis of the architecture firm Sanders & Anis.
These days, office workers, and the few residents of the immediate area, know this block for a couple of quick-serve restaurants and lots of itinerant office space.
The park will have a little under 10,000 square feet of grass, 23 trees, and places to sit and park your bicycle.
The new park will follow the same public-private model as The Park at Lakeshore East. It will be built by the Buck Company, but turned over to the City of Chicago’s Park Department when it’s done. Yet Buck will still be responsible for maintenance.