Emanuel Seizes Old Main Post Office, Plans Redevelopment

The mayor's office claims the redevelopment could create "thousands of jobs" for the city

Mayor Emanuel
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Chicago's Community Development Commission voted Monday to recommend Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to use eminent domain to take control of the vacant Old Main Post Office.

"Today the city of Chicago took a major step towards redeveloping the deteriorating Old Main Post Office and turning it into an economic engine that will bring thousands of jobs to the Near West Side and all of Chicago," a statement from the mayor's office said. "This historic gateway to the city has sat vacant for two decades and we cannot waste any time in moving forward with its development."

Emanuel plans to solicit bids from private companies interested in buying and redeveloping the massive building. A Request for Proposals will be issued by the city on March 16 for parties interested in redeveloping the building, which has fallen into disrepair. A developer is expected to be chosen this summer.

Final approval of the acquisition relies on approval from Chicago's City Council. According to a release provided by Emanuel's office, this will happen in the next two months.

The building's owner, Bill Davies, has been staunchly opposed to Emanuel's plan for redevelopment and has threatened legal action against the seizure.

The building, which was closed by the U.S. Postal Service in 1995, was acquired by International Property Developers North America Inc. in 2009 and remains vacant. The 2.5 million-square-foot property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. The building, which is monitored by the City's Law Department in Circuit Court, has had a litany of code violations since 2012.

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