Construction Update
Deco Like a Gekko: Old Chicago Post Office Gets an Athletic Green Lid

If you watched Star Trek after Svengoolie on channel 26 Saturday night, you learned that jealousy is a terrible thing. But jealousy is also what makes the real estate world go ’round. Your cousin gets a two-flat in Ravenswood, you get a four-flat in Lincoln Park. Your neighbor puts a trampoline in his backyard, you put in a pool. The dot-com wannabe across town gets its own food truck, your dot-com wannabe puts in a food court food hall.

The Old Chicago Post Office under construction (June 2020. Courtesy of YoChicago!)
The Old Chicago Post Office under construction (June 2020. Courtesy of YoChicago!)

The latest entry into the office amenities arms race is taking shape at 601W CompaniesOld Chicago Main Post Office in the West Loop. The YoChicago! YoCopter was hovering over it recently, and took the photograph you see above.

Most of the roof is mechanical doodads and vegetation, because that’s how City Hall likes it. But you can also see the big blue basketball court in the sky, a jogging track around the center of the roof, some nice illuminated walking paths for the less-energetic, and two pavilions.

The Old Chicago Post Office under construction (June 2020. Courtesy of YoChicago!)
The Old Chicago Post Office under construction (June 2020. Courtesy of YoChicago!)

Though it’s cool to have a basketball court on the roof of an art deco office building, it’s not the highest basketball court in town. According to a 1996 article in the Chicago Tribune, that honor belongs to the 69th floor of 311 South Wacker, where maintenance crews blow off steam. We haven’t been into the mechanical areas of 311, but if you have, let us know if it’s still there.

Rooftop greenery + office dogs = Steve in accounting getting a pink slip. (Courtesy of YoChicago!)
Rooftop greenery + office dogs = Steve in accounting getting a pink slip. (Courtesy of YoChicago!)

Some renderings of the renovated Post Office roof included a water feature, but that appears to have evaporated. Of course, the biggest change is the absence of the 1,300-foot-tall residential tower that was posited by the previous owner back in 2013. Those plans, charmingly, refer to this as the “Olde Chicago Post Office Development,” as if this was an Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips shop circa 1978.



		

Location: 433 West Van Buren Street, West Loop

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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