Retail Finally Comes to Six North Michigan Avenue

After what seems like an eternity (seriously, it’s been at least 18 months), retail is finally coming to Six North Michigan Avenue. The building was formerly the Montgomery Ward Headquarters, and a few years ago underwent a massive interior and exterior renovation, turning it into a residential tower. (“After” picture to the right.)

Six North Michigan Avenue after its renovation

Our Gold Coast spy was out of his comfort zone, and sent us this picture of the space at 8 North Michigan Avenue, which is apparently going to be another Starbucks.

Yes, that means there will be a Starbucks opening immediately next door to the Michigan Avenue Caribou Coffee store.

What affect will this have on Caribou?  I predict surprisingly little.  The neighborhood is infested with tourists, who will flock to the tried-and-true Starbucks brand.  It also has more art students than roaches, who will scurry into the Caribou full of the youthful hubris that makes them think they’re sticking it to an “evil multinational corporation.”  It will be another ten years before the grow up and realize that like the Red Cross, PETA, and Greenpeace, Caribou is also a multinational corporation.

Even though it seems like there’s a Starbucks on every other corner, based on the long lines and lack of available seating, there appears to be plenty of room for more coffee competition in The Loop.

It’s also worth noting that a branch of Starbucks’ alter ego, Seattle’s Best Coffee, recently opened up around the corner from this location, at Mid-Continental Plaza (55 East Monroe Street).  It’s another chance for pseudo-hipsters to think they’re not supporting Starbucks, even though Seattle’s Best is owned by Starbucks, and is being used to target the Dunkin’ Donuts demographic.

Personally, I’d love to see a bunch of independent coffee shops open all across Chicago.  But they appear to be few and far between.  If you have a favorite indy coffee shop, post it below.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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