Getting All Glassy Over AMLI 808
Sep19

Getting All Glassy Over AMLI 808

One of Chicago’s newest residential buildings now has some glass on it. Near North Spy Mike sent in this photo of construction on the northwest corner of West Chicago Avenue and North Wells Street, where ALMI 808 is on its way up. AMLI 808 under construction in September 2020 (Courtesy of Near North Spy Mike) Mike’s keen eye noticed that the second and third floors of what will eventually be a 17-story tower have already...

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Radical Surgery Will Transform A Building You Never Noticed Into A Building You Might Notice
Aug29

Radical Surgery Will Transform A Building You Never Noticed Into A Building You Might Notice

Some architecture stands out. Some architecture blends in. And then there’s architecture that is a cognitive blind spot. Fifty East Huron is an example of what happens when a building goes for inoffensive and ends up with invisible. 50 East Huron (Via Apple Maps) The building used to be the home of the American Library Association. It sold the building in December of 2019, packing up and bookmobiling it across the Chicago River...

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Locusts Descend, Loot and Plunder Downtown Chicago — Again
Aug10

Locusts Descend, Loot and Plunder Downtown Chicago — Again

For the second time this summer, organized bands of thugs set upon downtown Chicago, pillaging the neighborhoods that make up the heart of the city. Downtown Chicago looting, August 10, 2020 The first time was May 30th, during the initial wave of protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Back then, while Chicago Police were busy with legitimate protesters, organized gangs of criminals hit The Loop, North Michigan...

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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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Wayback Wednesday: The Trump Sump
Mar04

Wayback Wednesday: The Trump Sump

This Wednesday, we hit rewind on the reel-to-reel of time and find ourselves 15 years in the past, at March 4, 2005. The Trump International Hotel and Tower under construction in March 2005 (file) In the photograph above, we see construction on what would be the Trump International Hotel and Tower at 401 North Wabash Avenue. Previously this was the location of the Chicago Sun-Times building; a structure we still don’t miss. This...

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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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Wayback Wednesday: Lord, Snow Down On Me
Jan08

Wayback Wednesday: Lord, Snow Down On Me

It was ten years ago today, January 8, 2010 that we took this photograph of what was then known as the Episcopal Church Center at 65 East Huron Street, just off Michigan Avenue. That’s where a life-sized bronze statue, appearing half man and half angel arched its back, stretched its arms, and welcomed the coming snowstorm. Saint James Commons on January 8, 2010 A year earlier this space was renamed Saint James Commons to go...

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60-Story Superior Street Skyscraper Surprise
Dec31

60-Story Superior Street Skyscraper Surprise

Developers backing a new Superior Street tower have lubed up the defibrillator paddles and jolted their patient back into City Hall. Loop North News reports that 40 East Superior has not assumed room temperature after all, as Symmetry Development filed a revised plan for the property on December 11th. March 2017 rendering of 40 East Superior (via Alderman Brendan Reilly’s Office) The last time this rodeo came to town, the prize...

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Planned Riverside Hotel/Office Tower Design Tweaked, Still Looks Fabulous
Dec17

Planned Riverside Hotel/Office Tower Design Tweaked, Still Looks Fabulous

Remember that plan from three years ago where someone wanted to wedge yet another hotel in along the Chicago River?  Well, that someone is still pounding away at it. August 2016 rendering of 322 North Clark The plan for 322 North Clark Street was to jam a 369-foot-tall HKS-designed hotel into the surface parking lot behind the Reid Murdoch Building.  The proposal was floated by Friedman Properties and included 500 hotel rooms, 85,000...

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Odd Chicago Zoning Rule Says No to Skyscraper, Yes to Typewriter Repair Shop
Dec12

Odd Chicago Zoning Rule Says No to Skyscraper, Yes to Typewriter Repair Shop

The history of Chicago is written in its zoning rules.  Leafing through the pages you get a sense of how successive generations used the letter of the law to shape the ways in which the city would grow and change. Since both history and urban planning are messy affairs, it’s not surprising to find grains of sand in these oysters of wisdom.  One of them surfaced recently at 401 North State Street, where the parking garage is...

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