Another Crappy Corner of the Loop Getting a Makeover

Construction on 10 West Jackson Street

For years there has been a grotty corner of the Loop that, in spite of all the urban renewal happening around it, remained run down and permeated with the complimentary odors of mold and urine.  Not surprisingly, these buildings are owned by the federal government.

Which means that, in a very high school civics kind of way, they are owned by you.  And with money from Barack Obama’s stimulus program, you’re finally fixing them up.

The photo above shows work progressing on thebuilding at 10 West Jackson Street, erected in 1948.  It’s had its entire State Street facade ripped off.  Inside, all of the walls will be replaced, along with the plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems.  It’s pretty much a complete gutting.  When it’s done, it will have a smooth, light-colored glass face, and house bureaucrats from the Department of Labor.

The building already appears to be buzzword compliant.  If you check out Google Maps, you can see that it has a green roof.

People are often surprised to learn that the government owns most of the buildings in this little corner of the Loop, which is officially named “Chicago Federal Center.”   $25 million in stimulus money is also being used to rehab 18 West Jackson Street, and 230 South State Street.

230 South State is a particular favorite of both the government, and the general public.  Johnson-Lasky Architects put together a preservation plan for it (it’s a 90-page PDF, but has lots of interesting photographs).  You may know it as the building with the Art Deco McDonald’s.  Here’s how the General Services Administration describes it:

The six-story 230 S. State Street Building is located at the southeast corner of State Street and Quincy Court and has a rectangular footprint, fronting 42 feet on State and 100 feet on Quincy. The 10 W. Jackson Building (former Bond Store Building) is situated along its south and west sides. An exemplary example of the Art Moderne style, the streamlined structure at 230 S. State features such characteristic elements as smooth faced walls, colored terra cotta, glass block, pronounced horizontal banding and round or curved corners.

The first floor has a recessed corner entrance, and secondary entrances along State Street and Quincy Court. The corner and State Street entrances feature glass double doors and large windows, while the Quincy Court entry is a single glass door flanked by windows. Above the ground floor, the building is defined by horizontal bands of tan salt-glazed terra cotta alternating with horizontal strips of window space. The second floor’s banding of windows is in clear glass, while window bands in floors three through six are of glass block infill. The western end of the Quincy Court elevation is clad in brown terra cotta and has a fire escape that can be accessed via a metal door on each floor. The south end of the State Street elevation also features brown terra cotta cladding.

There is also another federal rehab project going on just on the other side of Quincy Court.  It is not a stimulus

202 South State Street, the Buck & Rayner Building, in a 1917 photograph

202 South State Street, the Buck & Rayner Building, in a 1917 photograph

project, and involves renovating the 202 South State Street Building, built by Henry Ericsson Company for Holabird & Roche architects; demolishing 208, 212, and 220 South State Street; and replacing them with a new building.

202 South State Street was known as the Buck & Rayner Building when it was erected in 1917.

208 South State Street no one seems to give a crap about, even back when it was built.  The perils of being small in the city of big shoulders.

220 South State Street was the State and Quincy Building when it went up in 1913.  Later it became known as the Consumers Building.  It’s now labeled 1 Quincy Court.


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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