John Buck Company About to Put the “See” in Chicago’s New CNA Center

Rendering of the new CNA Center at 151 North Franklin (Courtesy of the John Buck Company)

Rendering of the new CNA Center at 151 North Franklin (Courtesy of the John Buck Company)

Three years ago we were the first to tell you about a new building for 151 North Franklin.

One year ago, we were the first tell you the parking lot at Randolph and Franklin closed.

Ten months ago we brought you the first pictures of the demolition of the adjacent Walgreens.

Seven months ago we were the first to tell you that the building would be called the CNA Center.

Five months ago we were the first to show you work starting on the foundation.

CNA Center Groundbreaking

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel pitches in the help John Buck Company break ground on 151 North Franklin.

And three months ago we were at the groundbreaking party.

Sure, the John Buck Company is paying for the building, but it’s like it’s our own baby.

So today, we’re happy to tell you that the full building permits have finally been issued for the new CNA Center at 151 North Franklin Street and we should soon see it grow right before our eyes.


To refresh your memory, 151 North Franklin will be the new home of CNA Insurance. The John Buck Company is developing the building for CNA in the northwest corner of The Loop. Buck has also bought CNA’s old building, the big red one in the southeast corner of The Loop, which hit the Chicago skyline like 1.1 million square feet of bright red bricks in 1972.

Now CNA is looking for more modern digs, and proximity to trains, since those are in vogue these days. Back when Big Red opened, computers filled entire rooms with special supports to keep them from crashing through the floor, and gas was 36¢ a gallon. Today you have the sum total of all human knowledge in your pocket, the highways are maxed out, and sitting in traffic is for chumps.

With 151 North Franklin becoming the “CNA Center,” the old CNA Center becomes simply 333 South Wabash. CNA is paying Buck rent at its old home until the new one is ready in mid-2018ish.

The Buck Company isn’t just a hummingbird attracted to 333 because of its color. Kevin Hites, Buck’s Chief Investment Officer gushes, “333 South Wabash is an institutional-class building that is well positioned to attract future tenant demand. The tower’s prominent visibility on the Chicago skyline, 360-degree city and lake views, and easily accessible location make it a special opportunity.”

If this sounds a lot like Wimpy telling Popeye, “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” you’re probably wrong. The John Buck company may be secretive, but it’s not stupid. The chances of JBC getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop on this deal are zero.

Location: 151 North Franklin Street, The Loop


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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