One of the nation’s largest redevelopment projects is chugging away in Chicago’s West Loop. For the last year, the once-abandoned, century-old Old Chicago Main Post Office building has been filling up with office tenants from PepsiCo to Uber to Ferrara Candy Company. Now the tenants of what is currently branded The Post Office will get a little bonus green space.
The redevelopers of this building, 601W Companies, have been given permission to turn the concrete platform between the main building and the Chicago River into nice, leafy outdoor space.
The massive concrete deck above the Amtrak tracks was used by the post office for truck loading, unloading, and maneuvering. 601W needs to keep a bit of that infrastructure for its own supplemental loading dock needs, but the rest will be transformed with landscaped “mounds” and outdoor seating to a Gensler design. Each of the grassy mounds will support a so-called “monumental” sign. These were approved by the city last year.
The approved plan includes keeping the area open to the public from at least 7am to 6pm weekdays, and 8am to 1pm Saturdays; but could be available longer if restaurants inside the building stay open later. Additional landscaping will be added to hide train traffic underneath the deck.
While this won’t be a contiguous piece of the Chicago Riverwalk, it’s another segment. And if enough segments get built, the next thing you know, you have a complete chain.