River North Office Building Ditching Cars for Cubicles

All over Chicago real estate developers are taking advantage of the city’s recently revised zoning regulations that allow them to jettison parking spaces from their plans in favor of lucrative residential space, as long as they’re within a certain distance of a mass transit hub.

But what if your office building is already built?  And it isn’t near a transit hub?  And its parking garage is almost always 40% empty?  Simple – tell the cars to get lost, and get ready for the sweet, sweet cha-ching of more office space.

600 West (Courtesy of ChicagoArchitecture.photos)

600 West (Courtesy of ChicagoArchitecture.photos)

That’s what’s happening at 600 West Chicago Avenue, the 1908 building that once was the Montgomery Ward Catalog Warehouse, but these days serves as a hive for Chicago tech companies.

The owner of the building has received approval from the city zoning deities to convert the entire fifth floor of the parking garage into office space.  That means 224 parking spaces will become 63,918 square feet of office space, according to diagrams drawn up by Box Studios in The Loop.

It’s a formula that makes sense.  600 West tells the city that because its tenants live the tech lifestyle, they’re mass transit-focused, leaving the garage massively underutilized.  In addition, 600 West also runs its own commuter shuttle busses to Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center, Millennium Station, and elsewhere to further reduce the need for people to drive their personal vehicles to work.  And if you want to have lunch on the Magnificent Mile, there’s no need to slum it on the #66 bus.  There’s midday shuttles to Chicago’s downtown shopping and eating districts.

Construction is due to begin by December of this year, or else the zoning change gets revoked.

600 West Chicago fifth floor renovation diagram

600 West Chicago fifth floor renovation diagram


Location: 600 West Chicago Avenue, River North

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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