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Chicago's Old Post Office Can't Stop Catching On Fire

By Gwendolyn Purdom in News on Jul 5, 2016 6:23PM

While Fourth of July fireworks were being set up elsewhere Monday morning, the sprawling Old Main Post Office building in the South Loop had its own glowing spectacle—the vacant building's third fire (at least) in only four years.

Crews responded to reports of smoke coming from the 1921 structure before 10 a.m. and found burning rubbish and pallets, the Sun Times reports. The fire was extinguished soon afterward and no injuries were reported. The Chicago Fire Department says authorities are investigating.

The long-empty Post Office, located at 433 W. Van Buren St., made headlines a few months back when it sold to commercial real estate developer 601W Companies LLC for $130 million. Before that, the 2.5-plus-million-square-foot art deco behemoth had stood empty for more than a decade, with tentative plans being made and falling through repeatedly over the years. Mayor Rahm Emanuel even started proceedings to force real estate developer Bill Davies out as owner through eminent domain in March before the deal was made (and Davies died) in May. When 601W, the company that also owns Prudential Plaza and the Aon Center, took over in May, it shared plans to renovate the space to include offices, a riverside plaza and a rooftop running track, among other amenities.

You know, provided that the place doesn't burn to the ground first.