It’s a Demolition Derby on Wells Street

Ed Debevic's demolition

Ed Debevic’s demolition

One way skyscraper nerds measure the vitality of a city is by the number of construction cranes in the air at the same time.  But before the cranes can rise, the old buildings must fall; and that’s what’s happening on North Wells Street.

There is not one, but two buildings being reduced to rubble on Wells between West Ontario and West Erie Streets.  River North Spy Mike hit our tip line with photos of both of them.

The first is the old Gino’s East pizza joint at 167 West Erie Street.  In a previous life, this was the location of the Chicago outlet of the Planet Hollywood rest-er-tainment chain.  In its next life it will be a 39-story apartment block designed by Loewenberg Architects.

Across the street, all of those customers insulted by the staff at Ed Debevick’s are getting the last laugh as heavy equipment makes light of the diner.  The next course for 640 North Wells will be as a residential tower of 22 stories by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture.

If you’re into demolition — and we know you are — you’d better bring your Instamatic down to Wells Street sooner rather than later.

Gino's East demolition

Gino’s East demolition


Location: 640 North Wells Street, 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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