We’ve known for a while that Macy’s was thinking about selling its State Street flagship store. It has recently unloaded former flagship Macy’s stores from Minneapolis to Seattle as the struggling retailer tries to right its ship. It turns out that worries about Chicago’s State Street outlet were only half-warranted. The top half.
That’s because thee Cincinnati retailer has decided to divide the building in two, selling floors eight through 14, while keeping everything from seven down to the pedway for itself. The Chicago Tribune was first to report the unexpected solution that has preservationists scratching their heads and itching for more information.
That’s because the store is a city landmark, and so any potential new owner of the top side will have to work within some very specific guidelines as it converts the former storage and office space into something more useful. As noted by the city:
The Marshall Field and Company Building is the “grand dame” of Chicago department store buildings, finely designed and detailed in the Classical Revival style. It is significant historically as the longtime headquarters of Marshall Field and Company, one of the nation’s most historically important retail enterprises, and as one of the finest historic department store buildings in the nation. Built in stages over a generation, the building is the work of one of Chicago’s leading architects, Daniel H. Burnham; Charles Atwood, a designer in Burnham’s firm during the early 1890s; Burnham’s later firm, D.H. Burnham & Company; and its successor firm after Burnham’s death, Graham, Burnham, & Co. The building is noteworthy for its lavish interiors, including two atria decorated with stained glass and Tiffany mosaics, plus the much-loved Walnut Room.
This isn’t the first time someone has tried to convert a huge downtown Chicago space built for retail into something else. But it might be the first successful attempt. The last one left us with a walled-up ghost mall in the 700 block of North Michigan.