Status Update: Optima Chicago Center
Apr02

Status Update: Optima Chicago Center

The Optima Chicago Center (200 East Illinois Street) is gaining height and prominence in the Streeterville skyline.  Now that it’s climbed significantly past its black glass parking podium, the blue glass has taken over. When completed, it will have 325 apartments over a 238-car garage and a smattering of retail space in a 42-story glass block. For a long time, we were worried that this would be a very ugly addition to the...

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Status Update: The Clark and Grand Hotels
Dec20

Status Update: The Clark and Grand Hotels

  657 hotel rooms will come online in downtown Chicago, thanks to the project at North Clark Street and West Grand Street. Two surface parking lots and an old bank building bit the dust so that these three buildings could go up simultaneously.  One will be called the Aloft Chicago City Center (511 North Clark), the second will be the Fairfield Inn and Suites Chicago Downtown/River North (60 West Illinois Street), and the third...

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Stalled River North Skyscraper Starts Again, Saves Historic Firehouse
Oct22

Stalled River North Skyscraper Starts Again, Saves Historic Firehouse

A stalled residential tower proposed for Chicago’s River North neighborhood is back on the drawing boards. The skyscraper at 212 West Illinois Street was approved by  Chicago’s city council in 2007, but was never built. According to an e-mail from 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly, the project is out of mothballs and its developers are asking for some modifications so it can be built. The updated development proposal...

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Optima Puts on its Black Glasses
Sep13

Optima Puts on its Black Glasses

The Optima Center Chicago (200 East Illinois Street) is only a few floors above the Upper Illinois Street street level, but it’s already getting its black glass cladding. The color is certainly jarring, considering that most of Streeterville’s new buildings are done in blue.  It’s also a change from the original drawings of this project, which show the podium in blue, sympathetic to its neighbors. Compare the old and...

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Status Update: American Junkie in River North
Sep06

Status Update: American Junkie in River North

It’s been a while since we checked in on the building that’s supposed to go up at 15 West Illinois Street, replacing a surface parking lot.  Back in January of this year it was announced that this would become a branch of the Phoenix-based bar chain American Junkie. As of today, it’s still a lot, just without the parking.  It probably didn’t take much to tear down the parking attendant shack that gave so many...

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Slice of Life: McDonald’s Framed
Apr23

Slice of Life: McDonald’s Framed

The boom of a cement squirting truck working on the Optima Tower (200 East Illinois Street) frames the not-quite-done-yet facade of Chicago’s new 14-story Ronald McDonald House. Previous coverage: Status Update: Ronald McDonald House The House That Ronald’s...

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Status Update: Optima Tower
Apr18

Status Update: Optima Tower

  The foundation is in place and this week workers are furiously pouring concrete for the lower floors of what will eventually be the 42-story residential skyscraper called Optima Tower (200 East Illinois Street). Previous coverage: New Chicago Skyscraper Faces Challenges...

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New Chicago Skyscraper Faces New Challenges
Nov20

New Chicago Skyscraper Faces New Challenges

(Updated: November 21, 2011 @ 9:41am to include drawing of the building) We mentioned briefly last week that Crain’s Chicago Business reported that the stalled apartment building development at 200 East Illinois Street finally has the financial green light.  The 42-story tower will be sandwiched between Avenue East (160 East Illinois Street), the new Ronald McDonald House,  and The Fairbanks (280 East Illinois Street). Hours...

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A Hubbard Habitat

Last week we mentioned briefly that construction was going to begin on the Habitat Tower (360 West Hubbard Street) in the next few weeks.  That got us plenty of e-mail asking for more information about the building. In a nutshell: “For people who like Kingsbury Plaza, this is the sort of thing they will like.” Here some of the details we scraped together about it: Developer: The Habitat Company Address: 360 West Hubbard...

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Slice of Life: Assumption Church

Until recently, Holy Name Cathedral was both my home parish and my favorite church in Chicago.  Now, it has competition for “favorite church” title. I’ve been to Assumption Church (323 West Illinois Street) about five times, and each time it just gets better, for a lot of reasons.  But in keeping with this blog’s theme, we’ll concentrate on its physical structure.  The church is based on...

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