If You Believe in Chicago, Rahm Has a Bridge to Sell You — No, Really

How Chicago are you?

Sure, you’ve got a game ball you caught in the cheap seats at Wrigley Field.  Yes, you have all 5,600 Studs Terkel WFMT recordings on your iPod .  You even have the CTA map shower curtain.  But do you have a Chicago bridge of your very own?

Loop North News reports that the city is going to part with one of its most traveled bridges: The Chicago Avenue bridge.

Care and feeding instructions available upon request. (Via Apple Maps)

Care and feeding instructions available upon request. (Via Apple Maps)

The best part is that this unique piece of city memorabilia can be yours for the low low price of zero.  All you have to do is haul it away, take care of it, and “assume all financial responsibility.”  What could possibly go wrong?

If you don’t bring this puppy home, it’s curtains: The city will just tear the thing down.  It’s in line to be replaced with a boring, regular, non-moving bridge suitable for Anytown, USA.

Let’s fact facts: People love bridges.  And most cities have an iconic bridge or two.  Now your backyard can compete with the likes of Tokyo, Istanbul and Lake Havasau, Arizona by hosting the 106-year-old Chicago Avenue Bridge.

But don’t wait!  The city needs to hear from you in the next three weeks.

If only someone with deep pockets and a love of Chicago would come to the rescue.  Perhaps someone who works next door.


from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/06/20/if-you-believe-in-chicago-rahm-has-a-bridge-to-sell-you-no-really/


Washington Park is the Next Neighborhood to be Transformed by CTA Renovation

Seventeen years after its last renovation, the CTA’s Garfield Green Line station (320 East Garfield Boulevard) is getting another makeover.  Starting now.

Ground was recently broken on what is called the Garfield Gateway project.  We first reported on it in July of 2016, when $25 million federal tax dollars were allocated to transform the dilapidated transit hub into a modern commuter portal.

The city has come up with the remaining $25 million, and now work can proceed.

The Garfield station serves 425,000 passengers a year, according to the mayor’s office, which tweeted this rendering of the new station:

Rendering of the CTA's Green Line Garfield Station (via Office of the Mayor of Chicago)

Rendering of the CTA’s Green Line Garfield Station (via Office of the Mayor of Chicago)

It’s a significant departure from the rendering presented to the public in 2016:

Rendering of the CTA Green Line Garfield Station renovation

Rendering of the CTA Green Line Garfield Station renovation

The clean and modern white and blue motif has been reverted to dark gray and beige.  In the earlier image, the support structure is whitewashed, but in the later version, it’s back to the CTA’s usual color, known as Di Sierra in design circles.

In addition, the modern flat roof over the entire structure is gone, replaced by projecting fins, not unlike what is there already.  It’s possible the flat roof — which, combined with the elevator towers, gave the station an almost prairie look — got “value engineered” into oblivion.

As part of the project, the landmark 1892 station house will be rehabbed.  What it becomes is still up in the air, but it’s intended to be for public use — like a community center.

The restoration of the historic station house was designed by McGuire Igleski & Associates in Evanston.  Reconstruction is being done by the Near West Side’s Walsh Construction, which details the project thusly:

The project will include restoration of the façade and terra cotta exterior of the old stationhouse. The station will also receive a LED lighting, fresh paint, a new escalator on the southbound side and new mid-platform exit stairs, as well as a dedicated bus drop off area, new bus shelters, new bike racks, and a new bike lane on Garfield Boulevard.

The Garfield station was originally known as 55th Street Station when it was erected for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1892.  According to that most excellent time-sink, Chicago-L, the station didn’t take its current name until the 1950’s.

The CTA has been transforming a number of its stations across the city in recent years.  The new Green/Pink Morgan station and the new Green Cermak stations are transforming their neighborhoods.  We’ll see if this latest project does the same for Washington Park.


from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/06/19/washington-park-is-the-next-neighborhood-to-be-transformed-by-cta-renovation/

353 West Grand Debuts Tonight. Again.

Last week we told you that the residential skyscraper planned for the corner of Grand and Franklin in River North is back on.  Tonight we find out if it’s on like a lunch date with your mom, or on like Donkey Kong.  Whatever that means.

A rendering of the 2015 version of 353 West Grand.

A rendering of the 2015 version of 353 West Grand.

Onni is the semi-familiar name behind this project to replace the old Clark and Barlow hardware store at 353 West Grand Avenue with 356 new homes in a 38-story tower.  The Canadian developer is best known locally for redeveloping the old Atrium Village, and worst known back home for contributing to Vancouver’s dismally repetitive skyscraper forest.

It sounds like a good idea. But not when every - single - building looks exactly the same.

It sounds like a good idea. But not when every – single – building looks the same.

The new proposal to be unveiled tonight is six stories taller, and 26 units more peoplier than what was shown to the public in 2015.  That plan brought out the torch-and-pitchfork crowd because it would pretty much obliterate the views from the Sexton Lofts, and leave just a narrow 30-foot-wide shared alley between the two buildings.

What changes are planned will become clear tonight at 6:00pm at the East Bank Club.  No, I’m not linking to an address.  This is an opportunity to show the Millennial in your life how a phone book works.


from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/06/18/353-west-grand-debuts-tonight-again/

No Need To Worry About That $175 Million Bill For Obama Center Roadwork

Just when you thought the State of Illinois didn’t have two spare pennies to rub together, Springfield is sending a big fat gym bag full of cash to the Windy City to help make its former hometown President’s project a reality.

Rendering of the Obama Presidential Center promenade (Courtesy of the Obama Foundation)

Rendering of the Obama Presidential Center promenade (Courtesy of the Obama Foundation)

The state, which was named America’s Most Messed Up State by CNN Money, is sending Chicago a $180 million grant from the road fund to pay for infrastructure projects.  97% of those tax dollars will be used for roadwork related to the new Obama Presidential Center, according to the Sun-Times.

The Center will eat eight acres of Chicago public streets, including parts of Cornell and Marquette Drives.

At this point, the project appears to be a fait accompli, with just a few perfunctory federal hoops to jump through before construction can begin. The center is expected to have a $2 billion impact on Chicago’s south side.  The Obama Foundation hopes to break ground later this year, and have the project completed by 2021.

from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/06/18/no-need-to-worry-about-that-175-million-bill-for-obama-center-roadwork/

New Chicago Office Building to be Aggressive on Being Passive

An ecological building idea born in the United States in the 1970’s, then refined in the colder regions of Europe in the 2000’s, is coming home to Chicago’s West Town neighborhood.

Rendering of 310 North Sangamon (Courtesy of Mark Goodman & Associates)

Rendering of 310 North Sangamon (Courtesy of Mark Goodman & Associates)

The new building being put up by Gold Coast real estate developer Mark Goodman & Associates at 310 North Sangamon Street is going to be the largest “passive house” office building in the nation.

“Passive house” is a design strategy that tries to reduce the amount of energy a building uses as much as possible.  Ideally, a fully passive house building would take zero energy from the grid.  But the Passivhaus-Institut in Darmstadt, Germany lays out the rules for this sort of thing, and is OK with buildings that get pretty close.  Still, according to Wikimopedia, the building still must:

  • Be designed to have an annual heating and cooling demand of not more than 4,755 BTU/square foot OR be designed with a peak heat load of 1.2 hp/1000 square foot.
  • Total primary energy consumption must not be more than 19,020 BTU/square foot.
  • The building must not leak more air than 0.6 times the building’s volume per hour at 0.0073 psi.

All those numbers are enough to make you break out the old HP-35.  But they’re not unexpected, because… Germans.

If “passive house” and “Germans” sound familiar, they should.  Crank your WABAC Machine to 2012, and you might remember that we showed you a passive house called Das Haus that students from the Technical University of Darmstad set up in Daley Plaza.

Das Haus in Daley Plaza in 2012

Das Haus in Daley Plaza in 2012.

It wasn’t a fully functioning house, but was way nicer and slightly bigger than the “luxury” studio apartments we’ve rented in Chicago, even though it was made out of used shipping containers.

Now imagine Das Haus all grown up as Das Bürogebäude, and you get an idea what’s going on at 310 North Sangamon, where fellow Gold Coasters SCB are doing the design.

That building will be 12 stories tall, with 268,000 square feet of office space and 7,800 square feet of retail space.  Yet it will use 86% less energy on heating and 46% less energy on cooling than a similarly sized building.

According to the Passive House Institute of the U.S., there were 1,200 passive house buildings in the country last year; mostly passive house houses.  Now Chicago will make it 1,201.

On average, a passive house building costs 5% — 10% more than a regular building, some of which can be recouped through lower utility bills.  But can you really put a price on hugging Mother Earth?  Or all the free publicity you get from doing the Right Thing™?

Rendering of 310 North Sangamon (Courtesy of Mark Goodman & Associates)

Rendering of 310 North Sangamon (Courtesy of Mark Goodman & Associates)


from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/06/12/new-chicago-office-building-to-be-aggressive-on-being-passive/

Three Years Later, a River North Skyscraper is Redesigned and Reproposed

It’s been a little while since the last proposal for a residential skyscraper in River North.  But things are starting to roll again.

In an e-mail to constituents, 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly announced that 353 West Grand is in play again.  You may remember that address as the former home of the Clark and Barlow hardware store.

It’s been a little over a year since we last wrote about this property.  Back in April of last year, River North Spy Brian spotted a geotechnical crew geotechnicing in the parking lot, tasting the dirt down below to figure out what can be built up above.

Since then, it’s been crickets.  Until this past Friday’s announcement from Mr. Reilly.  He’s called a public meeting for next Monday, June 18th at 6pm in the East Bank Club so that the developers of the new tower can present their plans to the public.

Rendering of 353 West Grand

A rendering of the 2015 version of 353 West Grand

When the first residential building was announced by Vancouver’s Onni Group for this location back in 2015, it was going to be a 32-story, 330-unit building designed by Pappageorge Haymes.

The building to be presented next week will be 38 stories tall, with 356 units, according to the alderman.  The LP handling the development is called “Onni Grand,” possibly giving away the name of the new building that will sit on the southwest corner of West Grand Avenue and North Orleans Street.

Back in ’15, residents of the neighboring Sexton building blew their stacks at the idea of losing their views of the Office Depot parking lot, and the Ohio Street offramp.

The last public meeting about this building also produced one of the strangest events in 42nd Ward public meetings.  The previous ward alderman, Burt Natarus, was at the meeting, and as we reported at the time:

Natarus stood up and told the audience that he deserves the blame for transforming River North from an industrial district into a residential skyscraper district. He added, “I’m a bad man.” Apparently exasperated with the NIMBY sentiment in the room, he told the audience he had no idea where they got the notion their views were protected.

What will become of those views will become clear next week.  The current alderman says that Onni has taken local residents’ concerns into account in redesigning the skyscraper.  Whether those changes will be enough remains to be seen.




from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/06/11/three-years-later-a-river-north-skyscraper-is-redesigned-and-reproposed/

Lendlease Rolls Out The Barrel for The Cooper at Southbank

We were going to make a bunch of silly puns about barrels of monkeys, or being over a barrel, or fish in a barrel, but we won’t.  Except for that one in the headline about rolling out the barrel.  That was clever.

In case you don’t know, “cooper” is another word for someone who makes barrels for a living.  And “The Cooper” is the name of a new residential building in the South Loop where you could soon be living.  But you don’t have to be a barrelmaker by trade to live there.  It’s just a name.

Rendering of The Cooper (Courtesy of Lendlease)

Rendering of The Cooper (Courtesy of Lendlease)

Barangaroo-based Lendlease sent over some new renderings of the upcoming 29-story apartment tower now under construction in the South Loop’s Southbank development.  You may remember Southbank as the northern portion of the Riverline development, south of Roosevelt Road.  Lendlease started the project with CMK, but the two parted ways with CMK getting the southern portion, and the Riverline name.

Designed by Perkins+Will, The Cooper will be the first of five new Southbank towers when it opens to residents in September of this year.  It’s the first project in Chicago that Lendlease is both developing and building. Pre-leasing begins this month, so you can pre-live there all summer.

The base has 6,000 square feet of retail space and 26 two-story townhouses overlooking a park.  Above that is five floors of parking, and the rest of the tower is made up of another 426 rentals.  Sizes range from studios to three-bedroom penthouses on the top floor.

Standout amenities include a bocce ball court, hammocks, and a “virtual sports simulation room.”

Rendering of The Cooper (Courtesy of Lendlease)
Rendering of The Cooper (Courtesy of Lendlease)
Rendering of The Cooper (Courtesy of Lendlease)
Rendering of The Cooper (Courtesy of Lendlease)
Rendering of The Cooper (Courtesy of Lendlease)
Rendering of The Cooper (Courtesy of Lendlease)
Rendering of The Cooper (Courtesy of Lendlease)
Rendering of The Cooper (Courtesy of Lendlease)
Rendering of The Cooper (Courtesy of Lendlease)
Rendering of The Cooper (Courtesy of Lendlease)
Rendering of The Cooper (Courtesy of Lendlease)
Rendering of The Cooper (Courtesy of Lendlease)



from Chicago Architecture https://www.chicagoarchitecture.org/2018/06/06/lendlease-rolls-out-the-barrel-for-the-cooper-at-southbank/