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Big Plans for Old Post Office

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 22, 2011 1:30PM

Photo by Andrew Scarlett

Daniel Burnham did say "make no small plans." Developer Bill Davies has apparently taken that to heart with an ambitious vision for redeveloping the area around the Old Post Office.

Davies, who won an auction for the long-empty landmark building in October 2009 for $24.8 million, revealed his plans for redeveloping the property into an "urban mecca" that would transform downtown and attract visitors from around the Midwest. The plans call for:

  • 6.2 million square feet of leisure, retail and entertainment space
  • 4.1 million square feet of hotels
  • 2 million square feet of office space
  • 3.8 million square feet of residential space

The three-phase project would also incorporate three nearby lots: one on Harrison between the Chicago river and Wells; a site adjacent to the Post Office called the "Sugar House"; and a lot south of Congress Parkway.

Davies estimates the cost of the three-phase project at $3.5 billion, which would be a serious investment even in a robust economy. Davies' plan has some wondering if the Old Post Office site may one day be considered for a Chicago casino, but the zoning plan filed doesn't call for one.

Davies hopes he can start phase one of the redevelopment within 90 days.