Divide and Conquer: Slicing Up Barneys to Make Oak Street Even More Boring
Sep08

Divide and Conquer: Slicing Up Barneys to Make Oak Street Even More Boring

It was just over a decade ago that luxury retailer Barneys New York opened its new Chicago flagship store at 15 East Oak Street. The international retail press fawned. Customers oohed and aahed. And as the city coped with what we thought was the worst recession in our lifetimes, this building was seen as a sign of confidence in Chicago’s retail market, and that the Windy City was more than the capitol of just another “hay...

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You Can Live The “Good Life” In The Old Sears On Lawrence
Jun02

You Can Live The “Good Life” In The Old Sears On Lawrence

If you spent the last few nights watching Chicago police squadrolls crawling around your downtown neighborhood with lights, sirens, and megaphones blaring, you might be thinking it’s time to move to a neighborhood that’s a little less top-of-mind with the crowbar discount set. How about sunny Ravenswood?  That’s where Ravenswood Spy Joel shot these photographs of the repurposing of the deceased Sears store at 1900...

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West Loop Upgrading From Walmart To Porsche
May17

West Loop Upgrading From Walmart To Porsche

Not too many years ago, there used to be a Walmart Neighborhood Market in the West Loop.  It was on the corner of Jefferson and Monroe, attached to Presidential Towers. The Walmart Neighborhood Market at Presidential Towers in 2011 When we lived at the Towers, we used the mini grocery store for its convenience.  And with its secret residents-only entrance, we were able to get the full Walmart experience by buy cat food and milk...

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Oak Street Taking Yet Another Step From Bling To Bland
Apr21

Oak Street Taking Yet Another Step From Bling To Bland

Gold Coast shopgirls are dismayed to learn that one of the few remaining charming Oak Street retail walk-ups is going to become yet another glass block Apple Store wannabe. April 2020 rendering of 113 East Oak Street Next week, the Chicago Plan Commission will consider an application to demolish 113 East Oak Street and replace the greystone with a new two-story retail building  that maximizes floor space at the expense of the...

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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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Clark Street Building’s Vertical Expansion Expanding Vertically
Nov05

Clark Street Building’s Vertical Expansion Expanding Vertically

It’s been a couple of months since we last checked in on the construction progress at 1201 North Clark Street.  Recently Gold Coast Spy Joel ambled by and took the picture below so we can all get caught up. 1201 North Clark under construction (Courtesy of Gold Cost Spy Joel) You can clearly see the distinction between the now gutted original four-story brick-clad building, and the four stories being added to its top.  The...

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By a Thousand Cuts: Another Tiny Slice of Gold Coast History to be Chopped
Nov04

By a Thousand Cuts: Another Tiny Slice of Gold Coast History to be Chopped

If you walk down the Oak Street Retail Corridor your eye may be caught by fancy brand names, people with impossibly polished skin, and the place where Governor Blagojevich used to get his famous hair famously cut before now getting clipped at a federal pokey in Colorado.  But if you look beyond what is commonly seen to what is not commonly seen, you will see two things: architecture and history. 113 East Oak Street (July 2007) The...

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Another Shuttered Chicago Sears Store To Reopen As Housing
Jun24

Another Shuttered Chicago Sears Store To Reopen As Housing

The closed Sears store at North and Harlem in Chicago’s North Austin neighborhood is the latest to be turned into housing by a New York investment group. Seritage is a company that was spun off from Sears four years ago specifically to slurp up dead Sears stores and transform them into “revitalized shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations.” Seritage’s web site states that the company has 206...

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Details of Union Station Renovation Show Potential, Complexity
Dec05

Details of Union Station Renovation Show Potential, Complexity

We’re learning more of the nitty-gritty details involved in the Union Station redevelopment recently approved by the City of Chicago. A lot of it is just numbers and trivia, but a few things stand out. The former Harvey House at Union Station will be renovated into a new entrance to the Great Hall from South Clinton Street.  But it will also have plenty of leasable retail space.  Hopefully this space will end up being another...

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Eye Candy: New Renderings of the Willis Tower Renovation
Sep17

Eye Candy: New Renderings of the Willis Tower Renovation

EQ Office continues its half-billion dollar renovation of Chicago’s tallest building from a place exclusively for office workers and tourists into something more integrated with the evolving neighborhood. To that end, it is including  a new food court in Willis Tower’s new retail space, expected to open in 2020.   That Gensler-designed retail space is now called “Catalog,” an acknowledgement of Sears, the...

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