Idling Chicago Commuters Seeing Loop Link Progress
Sep04

Idling Chicago Commuters Seeing Loop Link Progress

When sitting in your car or on your bus watching pedestrians zoom by, it can be difficult to accept a road construction project as being anything but a nuisance. But more often than not, we can see the intention of said nuisance and know it will be worth the temporary inconvenience when all is said and done. Since March, Chicagoans have been watching the Loop Link project slow things down through the heart of the downtown business...

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Are These the First Baby Steps of a New Skyscraper?
Aug22

Are These the First Baby Steps of a New Skyscraper?

For more than a decade we’ve been keeping an eye on the vacant lot at 300 West Washington Street wondering how a Grade A Prime Kobe-quality real estate like this can remain a vacant lot for so long. The most recent plan approved by the city for this parcel was back in 2004 when the green light was given to build a parking lot here.  But it never happened, and the city revoked its permission in 2011. Before that, in 1997 the city...

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A Park Is Born: Plans Begin For Westhaven Park on Chicago’s Near West Side
Feb06

A Park Is Born: Plans Begin For Westhaven Park on Chicago’s Near West Side

Poison Ivy. Ketchup on hot dogs. Justin Bieber. Some stuff has a crummy reputation. Just say the word or phrase and it will elicit a frown, a cringe, a curse. For example, the three-letter acronym T.I.F. But one Chicago T.I.F. project just getting off the ground will not be lining the pockets of a rich developer or create a high-rise for affluent attorneys.  It will fund a modest little park in a Near West Side neighborhood that could...

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Growth Spurt Shoots Catalyst to the Top, Attracts Spies
Nov07

Growth Spurt Shoots Catalyst to the Top, Attracts Spies

If you’ve been following the growth of The Catalyst apartment building (630 West Washington Street) in the West Loop, you may have noticed something — it’s really grown quite a lot in a very short amount of time. The Brininstool+Lynch-designed building had its ceremonial topping out today, complete with a lunchtime feast and prizes for the Lend Lease construction crew that’s making it happen. Catalyst’s...

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Status Update: Catalyst Climbing In The West Loop
Sep01

Status Update: Catalyst Climbing In The West Loop

  The long-delayed West Loop residential building named Catalyst (630 West Washington Street) continues to rise near Presidential Towers.  When completed, it will have 223 residences on 22 floors and a 225-space parking garage. Catalyst gained a small amount of notoriety a few months ago when it was featured prominently during the Blackhawks Stanley Cup Parade.  Construction workers on the second and third floors of the building...

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Will Block37’s New Blades Keep People From Skating By?
Aug06

Will Block37’s New Blades Keep People From Skating By?

Months after getting an exemption to a city ordinance prohibiting large signs on its facade, Block37 (1 West Randolph Street) is finally installing metal fins on its exterior that will soon bear the names of the stores within. The downtown mall’s position on the edge between the city’s Theater District and its historic State Street district left it in an unusual situation – it was not allowed to have vertical signs of any...

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Blades to Bedazzle Block37
Feb20

Blades to Bedazzle Block37

Tragically troubled, yet amazingly clean, downtown shopping mall Block37 (1 West Randolph Street) is getting just a tiny bit flashier.  It’s going to put up so-called “blade” signs on its exterior. These are the vertical standards that you’ve seen on so many other buildings around town, including the new Gap store right across the street from Block37.  But as is so often the case, things are not easy for...

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Hanukkah, 2012 – Part 11
Dec15

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Hanukkah, 2012 – Part 11

Standing tall next to the Nativity scene in Daley Plaza is a giant menorah, erected by the Lubavitch Chabad of The Loop and Lincoln Park.  In spite of the Orthodox Jewish group’s well-publicized financial problems, it’s nice to see it continuing to spread the seasonal spirit this...

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Signs of Need at Block37
Dec03

Signs of Need at Block37

If you’ve been down to Block37 recently (and chances are you haven’t, or the Beard Papa’s Japanese creampuff stand wouldn’t have closed), then you might have noticed that State Street’s vertical mall has changed its logo. Out are the numerals, replaced with an all-letter logo. But that’s just the problem — Nobody notices Block37 (108 North State Street). It looks like an office building with a...

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New Blood May Be The Catalyst For The West Loop
Aug22

New Blood May Be The Catalyst For The West Loop

For years now the surface parking lot at 630 West Washington Street has teased us with its giant sign promising that The Catalyst is coming soon.  Soon may finally have come. The Marquette Companies, out in Naperville, is now in control of the project and plans to break ground in the October-November-December timeframe.  It will be a standard residential tower over retail and parking podium design with 223 homes across 22 stories and...

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