Controversial Old Town Hotel Project Approved
Jun17

Controversial Old Town Hotel Project Approved

A controversial hotel project proposed for 1520 North Wells Street in Old Town has been approved by the Chicago Plan Commission. If you subscribe to our Twitter or Facebook feeds, you were among the first to know about the approval in City Hall Thursday morning.  The project will raze a surface parking lot, the O’Brien’s Restaurant, and another building next door in favor of a 13-story hotel with 190 rooms facing Wells...

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Rising Sinclair Masks Old Town Mural
Jun13

Rising Sinclair Masks Old Town Mural

Chicago is a city of landmarks, both official and unofficial.  One of the city’s beloved, but still unofficial, landmarks is the trompe-l’œil mural painted on the south side of the LaSalle Towers apartment building at 1211 North LaSalle Street.  It’s called Homage to the Chicago School of Architecture, and is the work of Richard Haas and went up in the 1980’s during a renovation of the 1929 building.  But...

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Another New Residential Building for Old Town
May19

Another New Residential Building for Old Town

It’s been 120 years since Joe Hayden put pencil to paper and wrote “Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.”  He wasn’t writing about Chicago real estate, but might as well have, considering all the new development spilling into the area north of Cabrini Green and southwest of Lincoln Park. The latest building to break ground is at 301 West North Avenue, better known as “that parking lot you walk past going...

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What’s Hot in the Old Town
Mar31

What’s Hot in the Old Town

Like a pan full of Jiffy Pop, the hot real estate market is making things pop in Old Town.  The neighborhood, long popular with people who want to live near downtown Chicago, but still have that “neighborhoody” feel, is becoming pockmarked with new developments bringing even more people to its quiet, tree-lined streets. The latest to break ground is 1325 North Wells, a seven-story residential block designed and being built...

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A Look at the Hotel That Will Change the Face of Old Town
Mar30

A Look at the Hotel That Will Change the Face of Old Town

An Old Town surface parking lot, a combo residential/retail building, and an iconic neighborhood watering hole are all on the chopping block as plans have been filed with the city to replace all three with a single hotel. Plans were recently filed with the city by Wellstel, LLC showing the Pappageorge Haymes-designed building replacing the commercial/residential building at 1520 North Wells, and the O’Brien’s Restaurant at...

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CTA Unveils Shiny New Clark/Division Subway Station
Sep30

CTA Unveils Shiny New Clark/Division Subway Station

The first, and perhaps largest, part of the de-cruftification of the intersection of Clark and Division Streets is now officially complete.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CTA president Dorval Carter and a gaggle of other people in suits and safety yellow vests cut the ribbon today on the newly rebuilt Clark and Division Red Line subway station. The new station features new tile work, brighter lights, and 90% less urine smell.  For all the...

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Coming Soon to Cabrini Green: Bees on the Roof!  Bees on the Roof!
Apr22

Coming Soon to Cabrini Green: Bees on the Roof! Bees on the Roof!

  The whole “green building” movement has become something of an ecological arms race over the last decade.  Your building has a green roof?  Well, my building harvests rainwater for the toilets.  Your building channels natural light to cut down on electricity use?  Well, my building cries unicorn tears to wash the windows!  It’s all become farcical, especially since architects and engineers are usually the...

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A Skyline-Changing Week for Chicago; City May Approve 4 New Towers
Aug18

A Skyline-Changing Week for Chicago; City May Approve 4 New Towers

For fans of Chicago’s urban environment, it’s always a good month when the city approves a new skyscraper.  Some months we get lucky and two are approved.  If everything goes as expected, this week the city will greenlight not one… not two.. but four new skyscrapers, and a high-rise for the greater downtown area. Here’s a look at the five projects expected to be approved this week: 171 North Halsted Rendering...

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Cabrini Getting Less Green: Urban Farm Chopped for Residential Building
Jul07

Cabrini Getting Less Green: Urban Farm Chopped for Residential Building

One of Chicago’s summer blessings are the tiny little urban farms that spring up year after year on disused plots of land across the city. I’m a big fan of urban gardening. When I lived in Cincinnati, I grew corn in long plastic troughs on my balcony, and pumpkins that I was never able to harvest because the vines carried the fruit far into a neighboring tree. When I lived in Houston, my apartment balcony was filled with fruiting lime...

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Atrium Village Development to Reach for the Sky
Aug13

Atrium Village Development to Reach for the Sky

Our friends over at FitzGerald Associates sent in a note earlier this week that the Atrium Village redevelopment they’re working on has received zoning approval from the City of Chicago. Not too long ago someone recommended Atrium Village to me as a hidden residential gem in downtown Chicago — close to the heart of the city, but isolated enough to be anonymous if you like. Right now it consists of a single mid-rise...

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