The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

The City May Have A Buyer To Redevelop The Vacant Loop Post Office

By Mae Rice in News on Apr 12, 2016 9:49PM

The city just might have found a buyer for the Chicago Main Post Office, a historic, 2.5-million-square-foot Loop building that has stood empty since the mid-'90s.

In a statement Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Ald. Danny Solis (25th) and Planning and Development Commissioner David Reifman announced a "tentative settlement" with a buyer, covering the purchase and redevelopment of the post office. The statement from the Mayor's Office did not reveal who that buyer was, specifically, but said it was "an entity affiliated with 601W Companies," the same New York-based firm that bought the Aon Center in 2015.

The settlement gives this "entity" until June 1 to acquire the building, currently owned by International Property Developers North America. They bought it back in 2009, and announced a $1.5 billion mixed development plan in 2013, but have made no moves on the ambitious plan since then, according to today's statement.

“The buyer appears to be an experienced commercial property owner with the expertise and financial capacity to meet our goals for the building," Emanuel said in today's statement.

The settlement would establish a "strict timeline" (with specific deadlines otherwise unstated) for redevelopment, Emanuel said. The city would approve the company's redevelopment plan, from budget to timeline to financing. Presumably, the building will be rehabbed if this project reaches fruition; Emanuel, at least, talks about this project in terms of restoration—"restoring an iconic gateway to the city"—rather than demolition. Currently, the post office is just shy of 100 years old (it was built in phases between 1921 to 1932) and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today's settlement resulted from a request for proposals from the city, sent out after City Hall took control of post office via eminent domain in February. That RFP will "quickly resume" if 601W doesn't meet the city's June 1 deadline, according to the statement.