If you want to see Chicago’s landmarks adoption program at work, head over to the new residential skyscraper going up at 212 West Illinois Street. There you’ll see the familiar sight of rows of mathematically correct balconies hanging from a concrete frame atop a parking podium. Then look next door and see an old Chicago Fire Station from 1887.
Right now it’s boarded up, but the developer, Illinois Franklin Associates, has agreed to fix up the old place to make it once again a vibrant space. Several restaurants have tried to make a go of the location over the decades, but none worked out. Perhaps with an entire tower full of hungry people next door, the next restauranteur might have a better chance.
The 25-story tower designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture comes right up against the east side of the firehouse, and the tentacle of a parking ramps wraps around the back. But the west side of the property will get a pocket park, helping show off the historic building.