Will New Plan Deliver For the Old Post Office?

Former United States Post Office Main Station - Chicago, Illinois - March, 2010 - 001a

The Old Post Office. It makes big things feel small.

Like a misdirected package caught in an endless forwarding loop, Chicago’s former main post office building exists in a financial, bureaucratic, and logistical limbo. And once again, as sure as Cubs fans will pack Amtrak’s Southwest Chief bound for spring training, it’s a sign of the changing seasons that yet another proposal has been floated for revitalizing the hulking mass on the Chicago River.

The latest plan sees the stately, if funky, old building sprouting an Antunovich-designed residential tower. That tower comes later, though. The first step involves downtown’s fledgling micro-apartments sector, with 300 of the diminutive domiciles going into the old building. Another 1,500 more spacious residences would be in the contrasting new blue glass skyscraper addition. Naturally, retail space is also part of the equation.

The story was broken by friends-of-the-blog, Loop North News.  It has lots of diagrams of the teeny tiny apartments, but the one rendering it published is a puzzler.  It is supposed to be from January of this year, but is identical to ones put out by Antunovich Associates back in July of last year.  Hopefully a new set will be forthcoming.

Whether this plan has any more legs than the last plan, which involved adding a 120-story tower, remains to be seen. The old post office building had a laundry list of reasons it’s an ideal project for any developer with sufficient vision. But it has an equally long list of reasons for developers to run away screaming and clutching their wallets. For now, all we can do is wait and see.

Location: 433 West Van Buren Street, West Loop

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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