Amtrak Honored For Union Station Renovations
Nov18

Amtrak Honored For Union Station Renovations

If you prowl the halls of Congress, you don’t hear a lot of good things said about Amtrak.  It’s a popular punching bag among beltway insiders who like to grips about money not spent in their districts.    But if you’re a regular Amtrak rider (3k miles this year for me), you’ve probably noticed that things are — slowly, but surely — getting better at America’s largest passenger railroad. One of those...

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West Loop Goes From Zero to Two Hotels Overnight
Oct17

West Loop Goes From Zero to Two Hotels Overnight

It’s kind of strange to think of it, but until just a few days ago, there was no hotel in theWest Loop.  The neighborhood smack in the middle of all things Chicago has seen tremendous development in the last ten years, but until the Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites hotel sandwich opened at 108 North Jefferson Street, you had to go to another neighborhood to lay your head. Now, to be clear, we’re talking about the actual West...

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Turning a West Loop Alley Into a Park
Oct17

Turning a West Loop Alley Into a Park

Unless you lived at the Randolph Place Lofts (165 North Canal Street), you probably didn’t have a need to use the strange, hanging alley that arced across the vacant space in the 100 block between Lake and Randolph Streets.  Aside from moving trucks engorging themselves, and trainspotters leering at the silver streaks below, it was a quiet place. But all that’s changed now that 150 North Riverside is under construction,...

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Wave a Tiny Flag For Chicago’s Limestone Leviathan
Oct10

Wave a Tiny Flag For Chicago’s Limestone Leviathan

As you commute in and out of the city on the Eisenhower Expressway, you may feel your heart skip a beat when you notice tiny workmen climbing around scaffolding clinging to the Old Main Post Office like some kind of post-apocalyptic game of Donkey Kong.  But don’t rush home to tell the wife and kids that the decades-dead building has finally come to life again. Last Wednesday the city issued a permit for facade repairs: EXTERIOR...

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West Loop’s Newest Residences About to Rise on Des Plaines Street
Oct10

West Loop’s Newest Residences About to Rise on Des Plaines Street

The construction just never seems to stop in the West Loop, where 165 North Des Plaines is about to become the latest residential block to rise between the Chicago River and the Kennedy Expressway. We documented GREC’s 165 quite extensively both before and after it was announced this past spring.  Up to this point, the work has been focused on 156 North Jefferson, which was an elderly office building until recently.  Then it was...

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Hand Lotion and Hair Care Yield to Housing in the West Loop
Oct10

Hand Lotion and Hair Care Yield to Housing in the West Loop

If you’ve lived in the West Loop for a while, you may have been one of the thousands who lined up once a year for the big sale at H2O+’s warehouse at 845 West Madison Street. It was an opportunity to score quality health and beauty aids at low low prices. But now that H2O, like the Lucas Museum, has skedaddled from Chicago to San Francisco, the John Buck Company has big plans for the block at the heart of the West Loop. It’s a...

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Big Names, High Hopes for Chicago Union Station Redevelopment
Sep14

Big Names, High Hopes for Chicago Union Station Redevelopment

The redevelopment of Chicago Union Station and the surrounding properties continues to creep along like a  Hiawatha Service train a stuck behind yet another Canadian National freight mess. The latest bit of news is that Amtrak has narrowed down the list of developers (well, developer groups) to just four.  Not surprisingly, the developers are mostly deep-pocketed heavy hitters.  But we’re additionally pleased by the high caliber...

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Yet Another Huge West Loop Tower Proposed – Will This One Actually Be Built?
Sep09

Yet Another Huge West Loop Tower Proposed – Will This One Actually Be Built?

Real estate developers in Chicago are an unusually tight-lipped bunch.  So it was refreshing to read that Sterling Bay Managing Director Andy Gloor was overcome by the gift of gab during an event at the Standard Club sponsored by Crain’s Chicago Business. Mr. Gloor told the audience about his company’s plan for a 958-foot-tall office tower for the Union Station area.  If completed, it would become...

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Chicago History With the Late Gene Wilder
Aug31

Chicago History With the Late Gene Wilder

With everyone and his cat quickly adding Gene Wilder movies to their Netflix queue this week, or ponying up $2.99-$3.99 to watch his films on Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, Sony, or FandangoNOW, here’s one not to forget: Expo: Magic of the White City. So far, we’ve only found the 2005 flick on Netflix. And in spite of being the quick-fingered sorts, it’s still marked “Long Wait” in our queue.  Here’s the...

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The West Loop’s Newest Office Tower Gets Down and Dirty
Aug15

The West Loop’s Newest Office Tower Gets Down and Dirty

Demolition is a thing of the past, and construction is well underway at 625 West Adams Street, the office building sometimes known as the Old Saint Pat’s Tower. Professional photographer Michael S. Lyons tripped our tip line with his latest batch of photos showing crews busy with the elevator core, foundation pour, and drilling machines that roar. When complete, 625 will rise 22 stories into the West Loop sky with 400 parking...

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