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-   -   CHICAGO | Post Office Redevelopment (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=192697)

Kngkyle Mar 26, 2016 9:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 7384493)
This is for premium viewers, but here is an article in today's edition of Crains about the New York firm that is under contract to buy the Old Post Office.

They seem like the right kind of firm to do this deal, if they can close on it as planned.

Yep - it sounds like these guys can do it right once Davis is out of the equation. The article says the acquisition should be complete towards the end of May and that they intend to invest "more than $250 million" in upgrades to the property.

marothisu Apr 13, 2016 5:33 AM

Emanuel backs off in Old Post Office fight

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/reale...t-office-fight

Quote:

The city said today that it has reached a settlement with the New York real estate firm that has agreed to buy the massive riverside building in the West Loop, which has sat empty since 1996. Under the agreement, the city will suspend its plan to take over the property through eminent domain, an aggressive move it began in February to jump-start a redevelopment of the 2.7-million-square-foot building.

But the city is giving the buyer, 601W, until June 1 to close on its acquisition of the Old Post Office, a tight timetable for such a big and complicated deal. By that date, 601W must also reach an acceptable redevelopment agreement with the city, including a budget, financing arrangements, uses and timelines.

601W Principal Mark Karasick said his firm is “on board” with the city in its effort to push a development forward at the Old Post Office and said it plans to close on the purchase by June 1.

“We intend to hit every milestone as required under the agreement,” he said.

Karasick said his redevelopment of the Starrett-Lehigh Building, a 2.3-million-square-foot complex on Manhattan’s West Side, serves as a model for the Old Post Office. After buying the industrial property in 1998, he turned it into a cutting-edge office building, scoring leases with companies including Tommy Hilfiger and Martha Stewart Omniliving. He sold the property for $920 million in 2011.

“We look forward to doing the same type of thing” at the Old Post Office, Karasick said.

Under the settlement, 601W must also produce a formal plan to address more than 20 building-code violations that have been filed against the property since 2012.

bnk Apr 13, 2016 4:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by marothisu (Post 7405696)
Emanuel backs off in Old Post Office fight

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/reale...t-office-fight

If anyone can do this its these guys



http://www.starrett-lehigh.com/



Karasick said his redevelopment of the Starrett-Lehigh Building, a 2.3-million-square-foot complex on Manhattan’s West Side, serves as a model for the Old Post Office. After buying the industrial property in 1998, he turned it into a cutting-edge office building, scoring leases with companies including Tommy Hilfiger and Martha Stewart Omniliving. He sold the property for $920 million in 2011.

“We look forward to doing the same type of thing” at the Old Post Office, Karasick said.

go go white sox Apr 13, 2016 8:45 PM

Will the current rfp's still go as scheduled and due in June?

ChickeNES Apr 21, 2016 5:50 PM

Looks like they've started doing something to the building:
http://i.imgur.com/IlFnAGNl.jpg

ithakas Apr 21, 2016 5:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChickeNES (Post 7416025)
Looks like they've started doing something to the building:

They also have a CBRE sign up on the NE corner: "1,000,000+ Square Feet available"

I don't think they've closed the sale to the new owner yet, have they? I know they have until June 1.

Baronvonellis Apr 21, 2016 9:26 PM

Maybe fixing some of their numerous code violations that they have there.

the urban politician Apr 21, 2016 9:56 PM

^ I doubt that the seller would be doing that a mere few weeks before a sale. This would suggest that closing has already occurred, at least if significant work is happening.

Kumdogmillionaire Apr 21, 2016 10:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baronvonellis (Post 7416351)
Maybe fixing some of their numerous code violations that they have there.

That's exactly what they are doing. The building is a giant fire hazard that has to be dealt with every year

ChickeNES May 13, 2016 3:53 AM

Here we go:

Quote:

Deal moves forward to redevelop Old Main Post Office
Grace Wong - Chicago Tribune - May 12, 2016

Plans to buy and redevelop the empty and crumbling post office on the western entrance to downtown Chicago were finalized Thursday, the city said in a news release.

The building that straddles Congress Parkway was bought by investment group 601W Cos., which will undertake a $500 million redevelopment plan, according to the release.

...

The building, which has been vacant since the mid-1990s, will be rehabilitated into offices with a 3-acre rooftop park complex, outdoor cafes, events space and a sports and fitness center. The building's riverfront space will include a riverwalk and a grand plaza that has outdoor dining, according to the release.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...512-story.html

ardecila May 13, 2016 7:18 AM

Is anyone else getting deja vu from the image in the Trib article?

New rendering from 601W:
http://i63.tinypic.com/nd798y.jpg

Old rendering (2007) of the Walton Street Capital proposal:
http://i64.tinypic.com/hv6opg.gif

Gensler designed the 2007 proposal, maybe 601W just went back to them and tweaked the plan a little? Certain aspects of the design already seem dated. I can only assume much of the new rendering is simply a placeholder to illustrate the broad strokes...

k1052 May 13, 2016 12:31 PM

"dated" is an understatement

the urban politician May 13, 2016 12:44 PM

^ Looks as if they are planning to do this, at least partially, on spec, perhaps with the hope that midway through rehabilitating the property they get a lease.

Maybe this is where McDonald's will land after all? Is Walgreens still a contender?

Via Chicago May 13, 2016 2:46 PM

what exactly seems dated to you? the outdoor plazas arent amazing or anything from that crude rendering and could be tweaked. but generally speaking the real takeaway is that the building would largely be maintained and restored...so the lack of any exterior alterations is the best case scenario IMO. (rather than having everything chopped up or weird additions added).

HomrQT May 13, 2016 2:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Via Chicago (Post 7440435)
what exactly seems dated to you? the outdoor plazas arent amazing or anything from that crude rendering and could be tweaked. but the real takeaway is that the building would largely be maintained and restored...so the lack of any exterior alterations is the best case scenario IMO. (rather than having everything chopped up or weird additions added).

I agree. Finally some serious preservation attempts happening on some good art deco instead of knocking the thing down or mutilating it! If restoring the building brings in enough people, the area around it looks keen for redevelopment. PLENTY of surface parking lots that need to GO!

r18tdi May 13, 2016 3:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 7440309)
Maybe this is where McDonald's will land after all? Is Walgreens still a contender?

Interesting thought about Walgreens. Gensler did a Post Office design study for Walgreens a while back. The latest rendering of the riverwalk has their name attached to it...

ardecila May 13, 2016 3:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Via Chicago (Post 7440435)
what exactly seems dated to you? the outdoor plazas arent amazing or anything from that crude rendering and could be tweaked. but generally speaking the real takeaway is that the building would largely be maintained and restored...so the lack of any exterior alterations is the best case scenario IMO. (rather than having everything chopped up or weird additions added).

Chopped up and weird additions? The building is already a chimera of weird additions. You just don't notice it because they're all clad in limestone. I don't have any problems conceptually with deleting or demolishing parts of the building as shown in the 2007 rendering.

The only reason it's not being carved away this time is because 601W thinks they can lure Fortune 500 companies to the building based on its overwhelming floor plates. Quite frankly, I don't see why a successful company would want such a clunky behemoth as its public face...

This is primarily an office development, which means it is just as hard to get off the ground as any John Buck or Hines tower, but without the sex appeal and efficiency of modern architecture.

Kngkyle May 13, 2016 3:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 7440501)
The only reason it's not being carved away this time is because 601W thinks they can lure Fortune 500 companies to the building based on its overwhelming floor plates. Quite frankly, I don't see why a successful company would want such a clunky behemoth as its public face...

This is primarily an office development, which means it is just as hard to get off the ground as any John Buck or Hines tower, but without the sex appeal and efficiency of modern architecture.

None of this seems to hold back the Merchandise Mart...

k1052 May 13, 2016 3:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kngkyle (Post 7440516)
None of this seems to hold back the Merchandise Mart...

Appeals to different tenants in an entirely different (and much tighter) submarket. If you could transport the old post office to a riverside plot in River North it would have been converted a decade ago.

Via Chicago May 13, 2016 3:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 7440501)
Chopped up and weird additions? The building is already a chimera of weird additions. You just don't notice it because they're all clad in limestone. I don't have any problems conceptually with deleting or demolishing parts of the building as shown in the 2007 rendering.

The only reason it's not being carved away this time is because 601W thinks they can lure Fortune 500 companies to the building based on its overwhelming floor plates. Quite frankly, I don't see why a successful company would want such a clunky behemoth as its public face...

This is primarily an office development, which means it is just as hard to get off the ground as any John Buck or Hines tower, but without the sex appeal and efficiency of modern architecture.

i actually wasnt aware it had additions already, but nevertheless im not sure how maintaining that makes this concept outdated. if sterling bay proposed the exact same thing you guys would all be going ga-ga

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 7440525)
Appeals to different tenants in an entirely different (and much tighter) submarket. If you could transport the old post office to a riverside plot in River North it would have been converted a decade ago.

yea, and that submarket is no longer a bargain the way it once was. and these sorts of floorplates no longer exist there anyway. it may have converted a decade ago if it was in River North....but its indeed 10 years later so why would the time not be ripe to expand into other areas?

this building is literally a 5 minute walk from union station. if anything its more convenient than all the office space going up in fulton.

k1052 May 13, 2016 4:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Via Chicago (Post 7440528)
yea, and that submarket is no longer a bargain the way it once was. and these sorts of floorplates no longer exist there anyway. it may have converted a decade ago if it was in River North....but its indeed 10 years later so why would the time not be ripe to expand into other areas?

Like Fulton Market?

The post office needs at least a couple major anchor tenants to really get started. For all their similarities the Mart didn't start from zero.

k1052 May 13, 2016 4:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Via Chicago (Post 7440528)
if anything its more convenient than all the office space going up in fulton.

Convenience weighted against neighbored amenities is a decision each tenant has to make based on their business and workforce. The amenities offered by the union station area and the fulton market area are dramatically different to say the least.

Via Chicago May 13, 2016 4:07 PM

.

Via Chicago May 13, 2016 4:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 7440563)
Convenience weighted against neighbored amenities is a decision each tenant has to make based on their business and workforce. The amenities offered by the union station area and the fulton market area are dramatically different to say the least.

i work in Fulton and i can tell you its highly over-rated from an office worker standpoint. amenities? Lol. unless youre eating at Girl and Goat every day i dont see the big deal or what all the hypes about (actually, i can tell you: management likes that they get to brag that "we're located right by google!"...as if that matters or their luster is magically going to rub off on us just due to proximity. dosent really make a difference for workers or day to day life tho). its certainly nothing like the one-stop-shop that the loop is, and most lunch breaks i find myself treking back over the expressway anyway to get simple errands done.

we actually had Metra commuter employees quit when we made the move because of the trek over from the train station. a half hour walk in the middle of winter for older employees, esp through an area that dosent see the maintence upkeep the central loop does, is a deal breaker for a lot of people

being able to say "get off the train and youre at the office" is a pretty compelling selling point, esp if its a suburban company relocating downtown. and theres a blue line stop right there.

kind of surprised how pessimistic you are on this (i mean, not without just cause, its been empty for a while and will be a big undertaking. ill believe it when i see it too. but Fulton market isnt some nirvana in comparison)

Kngkyle May 13, 2016 4:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 7440563)
Convenience weighted against neighbored amenities is a decision each tenant has to make based on their business and workforce. The amenities offered by the union station area and the fulton market area are dramatically different to say the least.

Due to the size of the building I would imagine the amenities within it could very easily surpass that of any other building in the city. No, it might not have 20 restaurants within a block like in the loop, but it could very well have 10 restaurants inside of it. Plus a 3+ acre rooftop park + the riverfront plaza space? Not to mention that the neighborhood 'amenities' will certainly come once thousands of new patrons are in the area every day.

Ned.B May 13, 2016 4:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 7440501)
Chopped up and weird additions? The building is already a chimera of weird additions. You just don't notice it because they're all clad in limestone. I don't have any problems conceptually with deleting or demolishing parts of the building as shown in the 2007 rendering.

There are only two eras of buildings. The original brick 6 story warehouse building from 1921 that faces the river and the 1932 art deco building that surrounded it (and reclad the lower 2 floor of the 1921 building). The 1932 building is further split up by the north office block (the north 6 bays) which has different floor to floor heights than the rest of the facility, but otherwise it's pretty organized and contiguous, especially when viewed from the south, west, or north.

Some previous concept plans by Gensler opened up two large lightwells into the center of the building, which to me sounds more useful for office than hacking off the center of the top 5 floors (which was done when residential was proposed here in 2007).

k1052 May 13, 2016 4:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Via Chicago (Post 7440570)
we actually had Metra commuter employees quit when we made the move because of the trek over from the train station. a half hour walk in the middle of winter for older employees, esp through an area that dosent see the maintence upkeep the central loop does, is a deal breaker for a lot of people

I've seen this done intentionally by some people though most of the tenants fulton appeals to aren't corporate relos, even from within the city.

Quote:

being able to say "get off the train and youre at the office" is a pretty compelling selling point, esp if its a suburban company relocating downtown. and theres a blue line stop right there

kind of surprised how pessimistic you guys are on this (i mean, not without just cause, its been empty for a while and will be a big undertaking. but Fulton market isnt some nirvana in comparison, unless again all you care about is high end restaurants...which most people will not be using on a day to day basis)
The post office makes sense for large corporate relos mores than organic office growth of newer companies or startups that tend to cluster. Given the increasing trend of the former I'm actually very optimistic about it's prospects in this cycle.

k1052 May 13, 2016 4:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kngkyle (Post 7440598)
Due to the size of the building I would imagine the amenities within it could very easily surpass that of any other building in the city. No, it might not have 20 restaurants within a block like in the loop, but it could very well have 10 restaurants inside of it. Plus a 3+ acre rooftop park + the riverfront plaza space? Not to mention that the neighborhood 'amenities' will certainly come once thousands of new patrons are in the area every day.

Imagination is about all the project has going for it until somebody starts actually spending money.

ardecila May 13, 2016 5:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kngkyle (Post 7440516)
None of this seems to hold back the Merchandise Mart...

The Mart was already a successful center for showrooms and expo space long before tech companies started looking at it. It's cohesive and elegant architecturally, since it was all master-planned by Marshall Field II.

The Post Office? All it has going for it is large floorplates (which, as Ned pointed out, aren't even contiguous) and Metra/Blue Line access.

I still think the Post Office is a better site for one-of-a-kind land uses like a Chicago casino and rail terminal that really need the advantages of that site in a way that office does not.

Via Chicago May 13, 2016 6:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 7440770)

I still think the Post Office is a better site for one-of-a-kind land uses like a Chicago casino and rail terminal that really need the advantages of that site in a way that office does not.

and when are either of those things ever going to happen? or are we prepared to let it continue to rot away when no other serious proposals hav been brought forward

casino could just as easily go on former michael reese land or something similar. rail terminal seems pie in the sky at this point.

maru2501 May 13, 2016 6:59 PM

aaaaand William Davies just died

Ryanrule May 13, 2016 6:59 PM

The post office needs deep pockets, and a 20 year commitment, not some scum flipping developer.

Via Chicago May 13, 2016 7:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by maru2501 (Post 7440856)
aaaaand William Davies just died

well. this has certainly been a news filled day on this subject.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...513-story.html

guess maybe he knew he would never be able to see this through, given the timing

ChickeNES May 13, 2016 7:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ryanrule (Post 7440860)
The post office needs deep pockets, and a 20 year commitment, not some scum flipping developer.

601W is named after 601 West 26th Street (the Starrett-Lehigh building), which is very similar to the old Post Office (gigantic Art Deco office/warehouse building on top of train tracks). Who do you think would do any better?

Kngkyle May 13, 2016 7:25 PM

Clearly Emanuel killed Davis to get him out of the way for this deal. Don't f#$@ with Chicago. He learned the hard way.

r18tdi May 13, 2016 7:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChickeNES (Post 7440898)
601W is named after 601 West 26th Street (the Starrett-Lehigh building), which is very similar to the old Post Office (gigantic Art Deco office/warehouse building on top of train tracks). Who do you think would do any better?

Agreed. And they also own the Montgomery Ward groupon building. They know what they're doing.

BVictor1 May 13, 2016 8:03 PM

Happy Friday the 13th to him.

the urban politician May 13, 2016 8:25 PM

Wow, always sad to hear about a death. One can't help but wonder how it would complicate matters had he died before signing the closing papers. I guess we dodged that bullet

SamInTheLoop May 13, 2016 9:37 PM

^ Yet we have no confirmation as of this moment of when exactly he expired. This was the very first question I had upon learning of his death. Official time of death and time of sale closing, por favor....

eaguir3 May 13, 2016 10:17 PM

I see Rahm is on some Frank Underwood type sh!+

Busy Bee May 13, 2016 10:49 PM

A lot of tacky talk here.

Has Trumpism infected SSP?

UPChicago May 13, 2016 11:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 7440301)
"dated" is an understatement

Its more or less a restoration project so dated is what I'd expect from a 1921 building, the Merchandise Mart is also dated.

Edit* I see someone else covered this point first. :haha:

spyguy May 14, 2016 1:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Via Chicago (Post 7440878)
well. this has certainly been a news filled day on this subject.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...513-story.html

guess maybe he knew he would never be able to see this through, given the timing

Quote:

The deal with 601W Cos. closed for about $130 million, Mulryan said, but had previously been hampered by Davies' capricious personality. "If he had been involved he could have stopped (the deal)," Mulryan said. "I'm not saying he would have, but he had a habit all though his life of doing that on the eve of deals. He could be wild.

"We had some good laughs together," Mulryan said of Davies. "I'd told him he was out of his depth with the project and should sell, but he was laughing, joking and saying he'll outlast me."

Mulryan said when it came to selling the post office, Davies said, "I don't care if takes another 50 years!"
Yeah, nothing would have happened under Davies.

marothisu May 14, 2016 2:17 AM

Glad he sold it...

ardecila May 14, 2016 4:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Via Chicago (Post 7440852)
and when are either of those things ever going to happen? or are we prepared to let it continue to rot away when no other serious proposals hav been brought forward

casino could just as easily go on former michael reese land or something similar. rail terminal seems pie in the sky at this point.

A casino at Michael Reese would be a terrible idea. That's bound to be a suburban auto oriented hellhole. At the Post Office you squeeze it all into one existing, reasonably urban-friendly building where tourists can get to it easily via taxi and walking, and you avoid creating the kind of giant sprawling fortress that the Detroit casinos are.

If you don't make it easy for tourists, then you're just cannibalizing the same sad sack population of chronic local gamblers that currently drives out to Aurora and Hammond.

As for the rail terminal, it's really a matter of setting aside parts of the ground floor for a Metra concourse and ticket counter. Not sure how that is pie in the sky when Union Station's northern platforms already have a second concourse at Madison.
The upper floors would actually be much easier to lease for offices with a direct indoor connection to Metra platforms like Citicorp Center has.

LouisVanDerWright May 14, 2016 5:44 AM

^^^ Gotta place the casino near the ghetto for maximum poor tax!

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 7440501)
Chopped up and weird additions? The building is already a chimera of weird additions. You just don't notice it because they're all clad in limestone. I don't have any problems conceptually with deleting or demolishing parts of the building as shown in the 2007 rendering.

The only reason it's not being carved away this time is because 601W thinks they can lure Fortune 500 companies to the building based on its overwhelming floor plates. Quite frankly, I don't see why a successful company would want such a clunky behemoth as its public face...

This is primarily an office development, which means it is just as hard to get off the ground as any John Buck or Hines tower, but without the sex appeal and efficiency of modern architecture.

Maybe because its perfectly located on top of the Blue Line and both Merra Stations which is what actually matters to F500 companies.

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 7440525)
Appeals to different tenants in an entirely different (and much tighter) submarket. If you could transport the old post office to a riverside plot in River North it would have been converted a decade ago.

Not really, the ownership situation with the Post Office has been the main hinderance. It's been owned only by the Feds and Davies, who was going to develop it again? Also, the superstructure alone in this building has $50-75/SF in value over new construction. That alone should make it competitive for corporates looking for value.

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 7440638)
Imagination is about all the project has going for it until somebody starts actually spending money.

I think purchasing it for $130 million counts as "spending money"...

nomarandlee May 14, 2016 6:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 7441411)
A casino at Michael Reese would be a terrible idea. That's bound to be a suburban auto oriented hellhole. At the Post Office you squeeze it all into one existing, reasonably urban-friendly building where tourists can get to it easily via taxi and walking, and you avoid creating the kind of giant sprawling fortress that the Detroit casinos are.

If you don't make it easy for tourists, then you're just cannibalizing the same sad sack population of chronic local gamblers that currently drives out to Aurora and Hammond.

As for the rail terminal, it's really a matter of setting aside parts of the ground floor for a Metra concourse and ticket counter. Not sure how that is pie in the sky when Union Station's northern platforms already have a second concourse at Madison.
The upper floors would actually be much easier to lease for offices with a direct indoor connection to Metra platforms like Citicorp Center has.

I agree with both about the Michael Reese site and
the usefullness of a train depot and/or casino.

The sad reality of it though is that that would require number of government agencies getting their act together and finding the funding mechanisms in a timely manner. Having a private owner waiting on such dysfunctional agencies to clear up their objectives and infighting may take many many more years. What private developer has time for that.

i_am_kyry May 14, 2016 7:00 AM

I always thought an Art Deco casino would be cool in the Post Office...

k1052 May 14, 2016 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 7441441)
I think purchasing it for $130 million counts as "spending money"...

Just buying it isn't going to get leases signed. The new owner will have to be actually underway with significant renovation/restoration before any big companies are willing to sign on given the history.

Kngkyle May 14, 2016 6:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 7441532)
Just buying it isn't going to get leases signed. The new owner will have to be actually underway with significant renovation/restoration before any big companies are willing to sign on given the history.

Which is what their plan is, based on the information we have thus far. What is the problem?


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