By the time you read this, Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, will be waking up to their first full day in New York, enjoying the smell of fresh urine, the sounds of cabbies arguing over a fare, and the aggressive panhandling of “actors” dressed up in ragged, sweat-soaked cartoon costumes. All the things New York is famous for.
In honor of their visit to the colonies, and because someone in my household is a regular reader of Royals magazine (don’t judge), we bring you this construction update on the British School of Chicago (150 West Roosevelt Road).
Chicago Architecture Blog man-about-town Daniel Schell popped in to give a pip pip cheerio to the bacon-bearing Builder Bobs hefting their spanners and scrapers and gas axes at what will be the motherland’s unofficial new outpost in the South Loop. He sent back the photos below, showing the Antunovich Associates-designed building is making rapid progress.
You can see, it’s reached its full height of two stories, with the ever-so-long staircase on the north end leading from the public sidewalk to the public park with the private school underneath. This was one of the features most hated by neighbors who thought the entire plot should be used as a full-time public park.
What they ended up with is a part-time public park at ground level, which is shared with the school’s athletic teams, and a supposedly public park on the roof of the school, attached to the Roosevelt Collection mall. Although this will be patrolled and maintained by private companies, it is supposed to be open to the public at all times like any other Chicago park.
The neighbors still don’t buy it. In part, because the developer refused to dedicate the park to the city as public land. Also because of the abysmal track record the city has with enforcing public access and use of the public riverwalk in front of the Boeing building (100 North Riverside Plaza). The city has stood by and done nothing but write an occasional letter while the riverwalk was essentially privatized by the company. It is now patrolled by armed thugs who threaten, intimidate, and harass members of the public using the public space under the catch-all ruse of “homeland security.”