New Near North Condo Building Should Be Named for its Movie History, But Probably Won’t

61 West Erie Street (Image courtesy of Google Streetview.)

61 West Erie Street (Image courtesy of Google Streetview.)

There’s a new plan afoot to build a condominium building at 61 West Erie Street.  You may know it as the square, yellow brick building next to Walgreens with more ivy than windows on its exterior.

You may also remember that a while back a plan was floated by MCZ Development to tear down the existing building and build a mini condo block designed by HPA Architecture.  It would have had eight residences in its ten floors.

Now it’s LG Development at the helm, with a slightly bigger vision — ten residences in a dozen floors, with the new building connected to the lovely three-story 1914 greystone next door.  Next week it will ask the city’s zoning board for permission to use the ground floor for 12 indoor parking spaces instead of retail.

The building that’s on the way out was formerly Filmworkers/Astrolab, a film processing company.  This is where the Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Anniston break up movie The Break Up was edited.  It’s also where one dark night portions of The Dark Knight were screened for the first time.  According to the Chicago Tribune, Astrolab is also known for processing such films as Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, Home Alone, and Barbershop.

All of that will likely be lost on the owners of this project who will probably elect to give it a real estate-friendly name like “61 West Erie” instead of something snazzy like “The Filmnasium.”

Location: 61 West Erie Street, Near North Side

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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