Renovating an Old Landmark

One of my favorite old Chicago buildings is going to be renovated. I’ve long admired the Old Republic Building (307 North Michigan Avenue).  Maybe because of its anonymity — it’s not as flashy as the Carbide and Carbon Building (230 North Michigan Avenue)across the street.  Maybe because it suits its corner so well.  Maybe because I’ve spent any number of hours standing in its shadow waiting for a 151 bus....

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Summer Brings New Life to Chicago Retail
Jun28

Summer Brings New Life to Chicago Retail

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything good about Oak Street (or, indeed anything at all), so it is with much delight that I recap some of the recent events that have been happening in the neighborhood. The big news is, of course, the opening of the new Hermès store.  After seeing a raft of other boutiques set sail for other shores, it’s great that this has finally come to fruition.  The old Barneys New York...

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Status Update: The Ritz-Carlton Residences
Feb24

Status Update: The Ritz-Carlton Residences

It’s hard to see from ground level, but progress is being made on Michigan Avenue’s newest condo tower.  For months, caissons have been driven into the sandy Chicago shoreline soil and there now appears to be something of a basement and retaining wall on the north side of the property.  The Ritz-Carlton Residences (664 North Michigan Avenue) used to be the location of the Terra Museum of Art, a popcorn stand, a Starbucks,...

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Quickie: New Stores For North Bridge and Wabash

While in the Shops at North Bridge (520 North Michigan Avenue) today I noticed two stores being built out. First, is the Art of Shaving store, which we mentioned was coming on this blog back in the fall.  It looks like it’s finally coming to fruition, and if it’s anything like the one I visited in San Francisco, it will be quite nice. The other is on the second floor, and called “Teavana” — some kind of...

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Video and pics: Helicopter Lift at Water Tower Place

Several streets in the Gold Coast were shut down this morning so that new HVAC units could be lifted to the roof of Water Tower Place (845 North Michigan Avenue). The sky crane picked up the HVAC units one at a time from the ball field at nearby Lake Shore Park, ferried them down Chicago Avenue, and then up to the top of the skyscraper.  Getting them over that lip is quite a feat, as it is 1,059 feet high. The original lift was...

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The Malling of Michigan Avenue

For the last few years I’ve heard occasional complaints about the “mallification” of Michigan Avenue. Glamorized in their own minds as the “Boul Mich” by people not old enough to have experienced its more genteel incarnation, Michigan Avenue was once lined with low-rise residential blocks and boutiques.  That started to change in the 1960’s as property values rose and construction technology...

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Art Institute Expansion Opens Tomorrow. Not Quite Done
May15

Art Institute Expansion Opens Tomorrow. Not Quite Done

The Art Institute of Chicago opens its biggest expansion in years tomorrow. The new 264,000 square foot modern wing comes complete with a slew of eco-friendly features, a big name starchitect, and a $294,000,000.00 price tag. It’s the first major public project for the Italian architect in Chicago, though as the New York Times notes, the rest of “America has been suffering from Renzo Piano fatigue.” He’s been...

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Fixing The Burnham Pavilions

Much has been written here and elsewhere about the damage done to the architectural exhibits in Millennium Park intended to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Burnham Plan that, instead, were treated like jungle gyms by ill-behaved children and adults. The good news is that repairs are being made, and by the time you read this should be complete.  Here’s some pictures of the work in...

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Montgomery Ward Tower Not Gone, Just Hidden

Thanks to Chicago Architecture Blog reader and Chicago Architecture Info Facebook fan Jim Mitch for letting us know about a glaring error in one of our earlier posts, and more importantly — about a hidden piece of Chicago architectural history. In February we posted a note talking about the completion of the renovation of 6 North Michigan Avenue . This was one of the old Montgomery Ward buildings and used to have a 10-story...

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Inside the Michigan Avenue Best Buy Before it Opens
Mar15

Inside the Michigan Avenue Best Buy Before it Opens

Much to the delight of some, and the horror of others, a new Best Buy store is going to open inside the John Hancock Center just hours from now. The intrusion of yet another mall-class store into the formerly posh Magnificent Mile isn’t being taken lightly by nearby residents, but they have to admit — it’s better than a massive vacant space at the base of one of the city’s iconic skyscrapers. We’ve been...

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