Since 2005, the General Services Administration has been acquiring buildings on the State Street block adjoining Federal Center to eventually demolish and build out new office space. The Chicago Loop’s historic Berghoff Restaurant, on the same block, has been protected from those plans. Until now.
If you’ve been in downtown Chicago this summer, you’ve seen them: ten-foot-tall metal pylons containing a glass-encased city map on one side and an ad or cultural announcement on the other. In recent months, 75 of the information signs have been installed on sidewalks throughout the Loop, paid for entirely with ad revenue. So what’s the problem? According to Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin, placing ads on the signs cheapens the public streetscape. I couldn’t disagree more.
Marshall Field’s becoming Macy’s and Carson Pirie Scott’s flagship store becoming no more do not portend the end of commercial life on State Street. Really.
I have the Malcontents of Polk Street Canyon to thank for my boyfriend’s new apartment. Unhappy with the fratty scumminess of his downtown condo building, in May, Devyn dragged me around town to scope out new digs. We didn’t have to look very far. On a shopping trip to the Roosevelt Road Target, we found ourselves wandering through Printers Row. And smack into the hands of the malcontents–who sold us on the new building whose construction they’ve been trying to prevent.
Today, the New York Times reported on the hard time Mills Corp. is having getting its New Jersey Meadowlands development, appropriately given the fantasyland monicker, Xanadu, off the ground. Apparently, blown deadlines, cost overruns, shareholder lawsuits, and an SEC investigation surround the east coast project. Sound like Block 37?
If you’ve ever wondered about the fading little Victorian rowhouse now since last year sandwiched between two high-rise condo buildings on Superior between LaSalle and Wells–as in ‘how that hell did that manage to stay there?’–wonder no more. The Sun-Times has the story.
Woe is the condo owner whose view is about to be lost to a tower going up next door. Dumb is the condo owner who buys next to a sea of empty lots and expects his view to remain unimpeded ad infinitum. However, completely unhinged from reality is an entire building of such condo owners. Welcome to the South Loop’s Folio Square.
Today, the Chicago Sun-Times Letters page published my response to the CTA’s use of a grade-school contest to determine an appropriate name for the impending new route for the Cermak Branch of the Blue Line–a folly that countermanded the educated judgment of the CTA’s own, well-paid planners and cartographers.
The City of Chicago is surveying downtown residents about their traveling habits. Why? To spend tens of millions of dollars to build an exclusive bus transitway between…Union Station, Mag Mile, and Navy Pier. Hmm.
According to an article in today’s Chicago Tribune, ne’er-do-well developer J. Paul Beitler’s plan to plant a 2,000-foot TV antenna in the middle of Streeterville is no more. In the face of stiff opposition by local residents and limp interest from area broadcasters, the plan was shelved in favor of a more-prosaic 58-story condo plan.