Plans Outlined for a Four-Story Retail Crown at the John Hancock Center
Oct27

Plans Outlined for a Four-Story Retail Crown at the John Hancock Center

A plan to significantly redevelop the John Hancock Center’s plaza was proposed tonight by the owner of the tower’s retail space, the Hearn Company. In its current state, the building’s plaza is a sunken terrace that sits adjacent to and below Michigan Avenue, providing pedestrian access to tenant storefronts below ground level. The problem with this layout the Hearn Company is trying to solve is that it’s visually uninviting to...

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Renewed Concern About the John Hancock Center’s Name
Oct13

Renewed Concern About the John Hancock Center’s Name

It’s been a rough decade or so for Chicago’s identity.  As the city is becoming more and more homogenized, we’ve lost all of our big local banks (don’t be fooled by “Harris Bank,” it’s actually Bank of Montreal).  The one remaining downtown department store is owned by a company in Cincinnati.  And even the tallest building in the city has the name of a London insurance company on it....

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Will Aon Center be Chicago’s Next Skyscraper to Sport an Observation Deck?
Jul06

Will Aon Center be Chicago’s Next Skyscraper to Sport an Observation Deck?

  Better late than never, Chicago’s third-tallest building may soon get into the observation deck business.  Crain’s Chicago Business reports that some of the potential new owners of the Aon Center at 200 East Randolph Street want to open the upper reaches of the stately skyscraper to the public. The 83-story building in Chicago’s New Eastside is currently for sale, and expected to fetch well in excess of...

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Hancock Center Nevermore? Another Chicago Name in Peril
Mar18

Hancock Center Nevermore? Another Chicago Name in Peril

Just a day after Chicago skyscraper enthusiasts sighed in relief that one iconic tower wouldn’t change its name, there are gasps at the prospect that another beloved skyscraper could be rebranded.   The Sun-Times reports that as part of the long-planned redevelopment of the public plaza in front of the John Hancock Center (875 North Michigan Avenue), naming rights are on offer to anyone with a fat enough wallet. The plan to...

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New Hancock Center Videos Will Make You Wet Your Pants
Aug12

New Hancock Center Videos Will Make You Wet Your Pants

  Five years ago we had the opportunity to hang out of a broken 50th-floor window at the John Hancock Center (875 North Michigan Avenue).  Naturally, we took a video and posted it on this blog.  That was child’s play compared with the videos being posted on YouTube these days by a steeplejack (is that the right term?) going by the handle L1irnwrkr. He’s working on a project to remove the top 100 feet of the western...

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Wendy Tries Out The Hancock Center’s Newest Attraction: TILT
May10

Wendy Tries Out The Hancock Center’s Newest Attraction: TILT

In the battle between Chicago’s dueling skyscraper observation decks, the John Hancock Center (875 North Michigan Avenue) now has a new way to make tourists fudge their Huggies: The Tilt. Five years ago, Skydeck Chicago at the Willis Tower (233 South Wacker Drive) opened its The Ledge feature to the public. It is essentially a series of glass cubes sticking out from the 103rd floor which allow people to step out above the...

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Slice of Life: Reflecting on Chicago
Apr18

Slice of Life: Reflecting on Chicago

If you haven’t been up to the observatory at the John Hancock Center (875 North Michigan Avenue) lately, you may not know that as part of recent renovations, the ceiling has been mirrored. It helps fill the deck with natural light, and also helps make it feel a little taller than it is.  But more importantly, you can take cool pictures with...

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20 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About Chicago’s John Hancock Center
Mar11

20 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About Chicago’s John Hancock Center

People love lists.  And people love to see if they know things other people don’t know.  That’s why people on the internet click on links like “26 Shocking Tricks To Lower Car Insurance!” We’ve run a couple of smart-lists, too.  Five years ago we published 30 Things You Don’t Know About Block37, and it’s still getting clicks.  Recently Bill Motchan’s article 10 Things You (Probably)...

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Off Topic: End of the Line for Hancock Center’s Model Trains
Dec05

Off Topic: End of the Line for Hancock Center’s Model Trains

There are many great Christmas traditions in Chicagoland. From Zoo Lights to Christkindlmarkt to just strolling your favorite shopping district looking for something to bring joy to someone else, this city is full of wonderful holiday experiences. But one of those experiences is gone. This year there is no massive model railroad display in the concourse of the John Hancock Center. The train display was a highlight of the season for...

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 16
Dec21

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 16

Thanks to our Lakeview Spy for sending in these great pictures of the John Hancock Center’s red and green Christmas lights beaming through some low-hanging clouds or fog one night last week. If you’ve got some great pictures from around town you’d like to share, e-mail them to...

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