Group Buys Long-Vacant Old Chicago Post Office

The post office closed in 1995, and new plans call for reworking it into offices, with amenities such as a rooftop park complex, an events space and outdoor cafes

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the finalization of the sale of Chicago’s Old Post Office Friday and said the buyers were moving forward with a $500 million redevelopment plan that will reportedly create thousands of jobs for the city.

“Today we are taking another significant step towards transforming the Old Main Post Office site into an economic driver for the City of Chicago,” Emanuel said in a statement. “This project will create thousands of jobs and generate new economic opportunities for residents in our neighborhoods, while restoring and reviving an iconic gateway to our city.”

The building was purchased by 601 W Companies LLC, a New York-based company that reportedly owns Chicago’s AON Center and Prudential Plaza, among other properties.

According to the mayor’s office, an estimated 12,000 people could work in the Old Post Office when the building is fully-leased. Additionally, the building’s rehabilitation, which is expected to take five years, is expected to generate over 1,500 construction jobs.

The Old Post Office will largely be rehabilitated as offices, targeting commercial users.

The renovation has three scheduled phases. The first 24 months will be dedicated to addressing building code issues, restoring the building and beginning work on window and roof replacement. The second phase will see the installation of new building systems and elevators and the completion of window and roof work. The final phase will be dedicated to renovating the building’s lobby, common areas and tenant spaces.

International Property Developers North America Inc. bought the property in 2009 and initially planned an entertainment and retail space for the building. Most recently, the gorup planned to transform the building into "micro apartments."

But after years of remaining vacant with no work done, the city sought control of the building. 

The mayor, alongside Ald. Danny Solis and the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, announced their plan to acquire the building and accept bids for the vacant property in February.

In March, Chicago’s Community Development Commission voted to recommend Emanuel's plan to use eminent domain to take control of the property. A Request for Proposals was issued by the city on March 16 for parties interested in redeveloping the building.

“With a new owner, the building has a brand new future as one of the city’s most desirable business addresses,” Solis said Friday. “I’m confident in 601W’s ability to deliver on its plan and look forward to substantial progress in the months ahead.”

Pre-leasing for the building will begin in 2017 and initial occupancy is scheduled for 2018.

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