Chicago’s Largest Building Getting a Makeover

Merchandise Mart - Chicago, Illinois - September, 2004 - 004

Merchandise Mart had its own ZIP Code (60654) until 2008. Now you’re ready for trivia night at Schuba’s.

The largest building in Chicago is getting a makeover.  The four-million square-foot Merchandise Mart sees tens of thousands of visitors each day to its offices, studios, food court, and train station.  The public spaces of the building are going to be rehabbed in a multi-million dollar renovation.  How many millions?  Well, that’s a secret.  And while we do know that big changes are coming to the food court, whether people will still have to hoof it down the spiral internal fire stairwell to get from the food court to the first floor is also being kept a secret.

For details that aren’t a secret, see the press release from J.C. Anderson after the picture of the present, and the renderings of the future.

Merchandise Mart - Chicago, Illinois - August, 2013 - 001a

Merchandise Mart from the back. You hardly ever see this view. Unless you live at Hubbard Place, in which case you’re probably sick of it.

Rendering of the Merchandise Mart renovations (Courtesy of J.C. Anderson)

Rendering of the Merchandise Mart renovations (Courtesy of J.C. Anderson)

Rendering of the Merchandise Mart renovations (Courtesy of J.C. Anderson)

Rendering of the Merchandise Mart renovations (Courtesy of J.C. Anderson)


CHICAGO – J.C. Anderson, Inc. is pleased to announce that the firm has been selected to complete a multi-phased renovation for Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI) at 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza (Merchandise Mart) in Chicago.
MMPI has hired J.C. Anderson, Inc. to complete a phased, multi-million renovation to the Merchandise Mart’s common areas. Construction will consist of J.C. Anderson, Inc. reconfiguring the layout of the existing food court to provide more seating, an abundance of natural light and new finishes The most extensive renovations to The Mart include the installation of a grand staircase in the main lobby and creating a 2nd floor bar and restaurant area served by the grand stair. The building will remain fully functional during construction.
“We are thrilled to again partner with MMPI to complete the common area renovations at The Mart,” said Michael Yazbec, president of J.C. Anderson, Inc. “Our experience in managing a myriad of projects, ranging from base building core renovations and tenant retro-fits in occupied spaces to high-end office build-outs, enables us to draw from our knowledge and resources to complete the projects on time and within the budget for our client.”
J.C. Anderson’s senior staff has completed multiple projects at the Merchandise Mart over the past 15 years including renovations to the 14th floor corridors, multiple showrooms and the 4th floor bathrooms. Most recently, the firm completed a 50,300 square foot build-out at the Merchandise Mart for Yelp, Inc. The build-out for Yelp, completed in January 2015, included the addition of a café, conference rooms, a training room, game/entertainment space, a genius bar as well as open work areas to create a more collaborative office environment.
“With the addition of tenants such as Yelp and Motorola Mobility, The Mart has rapidly transformed into the city’s technology hub,” noted William Burfeind, vice president of J.C. Anderson, Inc. “These capital improvements to The Mart are a continuation of the building’s transformation from housing merchandise showrooms to Fortune 100 corporate and technology office tenants.”
The construction team for J.C. Anderson, Inc. is led by Burfeind and Project Executive Anthony Douglas. A+I (New York) and Valerio Dewalt Train Associates are providing the architectural services.

Location: 222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza, River North

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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