Aqua: Before and After COVID
Sep19

Aqua: Before and After COVID

We’ve all seen, read about, or stumbled across the restrictions placed on Chicago due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s another illustration of how things have changed. A before-and-after look at the pool deck at the Aqua tower. The Aqua pool deck, before and after COVID-19 restrictions (Base photos courtesy of YoChicago!) As a former Aqua resident, I often thought the pool deck was unnecessarily festooned with deck chairs,...

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Left For Dead, Cook County Hospital Resuscitated  by Hyatt
Aug03

Left For Dead, Cook County Hospital Resuscitated by Hyatt

Some buildings become neglected. Some become abandoned. And then there’s the former Cook County Hospital, which was neglected, kicked out of the house, mugged, drugged, dumped in an alley, had its shoes stolen, and left for dead behind a Dumpster. But at least it wasn’t torn down. The former Cook County Hospital in March, 2009 It’s that last fact which allows us to tell you that you can now spend the night in the...

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Pandemic Not Stopping Chicago’s Loop From Getting a New Skyscraper
Jul19

Pandemic Not Stopping Chicago’s Loop From Getting a New Skyscraper

A location where a grotty brick pile once hulked in The Loop will soon become a shiny new skyscraper, according to the Chicago Tribune.  Mr. Tribb reports that Sterling Bay and Magellan Development plan to break ground next month on a 47-story mixed use tower at 300 North Michigan Avenue. March 2019 rendering of 300 North Michigan Avenue We’ve been telling you about pending skyscraper plans for this location since 2017.  The...

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COVID Forces a Change of Plans in a Proposed Near North Building
Jul18

COVID Forces a Change of Plans in a Proposed Near North Building

Sixty-one West Erie hasn’t been built yet, and it’s already on its third life.  First, it was going to be a 12-story condominium block.  Then a 29-room vacation rental hotel hybrid.  Now, it’s all about apartments. September 2019 rendering of 61 West Erie. (via the Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly.) That’s the word from 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly, who writes, “The hotel project is no longer viable...

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Atari-Themed Hotel Paddles Toward Chicago.  But Will the Joy Stick?
Jan24

Atari-Themed Hotel Paddles Toward Chicago. But Will the Joy Stick?

If you were the kind of kid who watched WGN-TV and saw commercials for hotel rooms with hot tubs next to a leopard-skinned bed and thought to yourself, “Adults are so silly.  They’re going to get water all over that red shag carpet!” then the hotel of your dreams is coming to Chicago.  True North Studio has announced plans to open an Atari-themed hotel in the Windy City. The Atari-themed hotel will look absolutely...

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Down-Zoning Requested to Put Up Small Hotel In Near North
Jan20

Down-Zoning Requested to Put Up Small Hotel In Near North

It’s not unusual to see zoning requests filed with the city where a developer wants to reduce the zoning density of a parcel.  But almost always it’s so that the chunk of land in question can be combined with a neighboring property and then the whole shebang gets an enormous skyscraper dropped on it like a bookbag on the last day of school.  That’s not what’s happening at 61 West Erie Street. September 2019...

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Change Coming to the Corner of State and Wacker
Dec18

Change Coming to the Corner of State and Wacker

If you were hanging around western Turkey 2,500 years ago and big into philosophers, you might have heard Heraclitus say something along the lines of “change is the only constant in life.”  The young Greek philosopher must have been inspired by astral projecting himself into modern-day Chicago, because it is absolutely true that the only thing that doesn’t change in downtown Chicago is the fact that downtown...

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5 Chicago Buildings to be Thankful for This Thanksgiving
Nov23

5 Chicago Buildings to be Thankful for This Thanksgiving

A lot of people aren’t going to work this week, so chances are you’re not reading this.  If you’ve buried your nose in your phone rather than listen to Uncle Earl lecture your mom — again — about how if it doesn’t say “USA” on the package, the turkey came from China, then read on to understand why there are so many architectural reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving. John Hancock Center at...

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Abandoned Two-Story School To Become Eight-Story Hotel
Nov18

Abandoned Two-Story School To Become Eight-Story Hotel

Back when Chicago’s Immaculate Conception parish and Saint Joseph parish were individual communities, there was a school on the corner of Orleans and Hill Streets, next to Cabrini Green.  Saint Joseph School at 1035 North Orleans Street closed almost a decade ago, but a real estate developer is trying to re-open it as a hotel. 1035 North Orleans Street (via Apple Maps) The conversion involves adding six stories on top of the...

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Hilton Finds a Way to Land Two New Hotels in The Loop
Oct07

Hilton Finds a Way to Land Two New Hotels in The Loop

After a feeding frenzy that lasted a few years, recently there has been a slight downtick in the ferocity of the development of new hotels in downtown Chicago.  It looks like developers are getting their second wind. 226 West Jackson Boulevard Hilton is the latest brand out of the gate with plans to put mints on pillows in The Loop.  It wants to plant two flags at 226 West Jackson Boulevard.  You may know it as the former...

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