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

Old Main Post Office Will Get A Swanky $500M Remodel, Huge Rooftop Park

By Mae Rice in News on May 13, 2016 5:23PM

Rendering of the future Old Main Post Office (photo courtesy of the Mayor's Office)

A developer has at long last bought the West Loop's Old Main Post Office, the Mayor's Office announced Friday. Developer 601W Companies LLC will now undertake a $500 million redevelopment plan, transforming the building—which has been vacant for 20 years—into an office complex with a "campus" feel.

“601W will reposition the building as an incredibly unique campus allowing companies seeking large, open layouts with plenty of light and air,” 601W principal Mark Karasick said in an email statement.

After the company's three-phase renovation, the post office (433 W Harrison St.) will have a "three acre rooftop park complex" with cafes and a fitness center, complete with sports courts and a quarter-mile track. The interior will have 18-foot-high ceilings and 250,000-square-foot open spaces, and the building's riverfront will include an outdoor plaza and a landscaped Riverwalk, just south of the southern edge of the city's Riverwalk expansion project.

As Mayor Rahm Emanuel explained in an email statement, the goal of the renovation is "transforming the Old Main Post Office site into an economic driver for the City of Chicago."

This deal has been in the works since April, when the city put its post office request for proposals (RFP) on hold and gave 601W until July to finalize purchase of the post office property from British developer Bill Davies' company, International Property Developers North America.

601W is the same New York-based firm that owns Chicago's Aon Tower and 600 W. Chicago.

In February, Emanuel used eminent domain to begin the process of shifting ownership of the property from Davies and his company. Davies had flirted with various plans for the site since he bought it in 2009, including turning it into The MicroChicago, a complex of wildly expensive microapartments.

Update, 2 p.m.: Developer Bill Davies died today, according to Alby Gallun of Crain's Chicago: