The Chicago Spire is One Big Ol’ Water-Logged Bucket Of Foreclosure

Development, Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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The Chicago Spire today only exists as a hole in the ground. (Marcin Wichary / Flickr)

The Chicago Spire today only exists as a hole in the ground. (Marcin Wichary / Flickr)

Social media was abuzz recently over the reports by eavesdrop, the WSJ, and other major papers about the biggest recession scab over Chicago: the failed Spire designed by Santiago Calatrava. That Irish pie in the sky developer apparently found someone to bail the project out of its foreclosure. Everyone was all, “It’s back on!” Dear readers, until they start pumping the water out of the big hole in the ground, Eavesdrop is betting against this one.

Aqua Tower team dives back in for new Chicago project by Studio Gang

studio gang architects' aqua tower (joevare via flickr)

Detail of the rippling facade of Studio Gang Architects’ Aqua Tower. (joevare / Flickr)

With the real estate market drifting through a relative recovery, one prominent Chicago developer seems to be saying, “Come back in, the water’s fine.” The team behind Chicago’s Aqua Tower is gearing up for another high-rise nearby. Chicago-based Magellan Development Group hired Studio Gang Architects for another tower in the 28-acre master-planned neighborhood of Lakeshore East.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago Mulls Zoning Changes To Ward Off Mountains of Petcoke

Midwest, Newsletter
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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Petcoke stored along the Calumet River on Chicago's Southeast Side, between 106th and 100th streets. (Josh Mogerman via Flickr)

Petcoke stored along the Calumet River on Chicago’s Southeast Side, between 106th and 100th streets. (Josh Mogerman / Flickr)

Piles of dusty, black waste from coal and petroleum processing have been piling up on Chicago’s southeast side, angering residents and prompting Mayor Rahm Emanuel to weigh in on the contentious environmental issue.

The Sun-Times has reported that Emanuel will introduce an ordinance at next month’s City Council meeting banning new storage facilities for so-called petcoke—a byproduct of the oil refinery process that can be sold overseas. It’s a step back from an outright ban proposed in December by Alderman Edward Burke, whose constituents were outraged by black dust clouds wafting from uncovered piles of petcoke along the Calumet River. Read More

Civic group calls on Chicago to expand car-free zones

Harry and Guenter Kempf Plaza in Chicago's Lincoln Square. (Google Maps)

Harry and Guenter Kempf Plaza in Chicago’s Lincoln Square. (Google Maps)

The jostle of potholes notwithstanding, motorists might find nothing unbalanced about Chicago’s public streets. But the Active Transportation Alliance points out while nearly a quarter of the city is in the public right-of-way, cars dominate practically all of it.

Citing the city’s Make Way for People initiative, which turns over underused street space to pedestrians, the group released 20 proposals Wednesday, calling on City Hall to create car-free spaces from Wrigley Field to Hyde Park. Read More

Chicago Spire developer moves to settle bankruptcy, revive project

Development, Midwest, News
Friday, February 7, 2014
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spire

Chicago’s stalled supertall Spire could rise again, according to the Irish developer who went into foreclosure in 2010 after a protracted legal battle over the project.

Garrett Kelleher’s lawyers on Thursday filed papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking court approval to move ahead with the Chicago Spire, which remains a hole in the ground at 400 North Lake Shore Drive. Kelleher said a $135 million investment from Atlas Apartment Holdings would allow him to settle bankruptcy claims in full but, as reported in the Chicago Tribune, the court filings don’t say how much more money would be needed to fund the construction of the 2,000-foot-tall condo skyscraper.

Read More

Mayors, Philanthropies Team Up for Energy Efficiency Blitz

National, News, Sustainability
Thursday, January 30, 2014
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Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

A team of mayors and nonprofit foundations said Wednesday that they’ll spend enough retrofitting major U.S. cities to save more than $1 billion per year in energy costs. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropy, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation pledged $3 million each year for three years to provide technical advisers for 10 cities across the country: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City. Read More

Chicago Launches Lighting Competition in Bid to Boost Tourism, Skeptics Concerned Over Pollution

Design, Lighting, Midwest
Monday, January 27, 2014
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(Courtesy City of Chicago)

(Courtesy City of Chicago)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been very vocal about his ambitions to increase tourism in the city, and he once again upped that goal to 55 million annual visitors by 2020—an almost 20 percent jump from current numbers.

Riding high on news of record hotel occupancy last year, Emanuel said Wednesday that Chicago would launch an international design contest to light up the city at night. As with previous initiatives, like the Downtown Riverwalk extension, the lighting design competition would highlight the Chicago River.

Continue reading after the jump.

Senators, Congresswoman Back National Park Status for Chicago’s Pullman Neighborhood

THE 12000 BLOCK OF SOUTH CHAMPLAIN AVENUE AND THE 11200 BLOCK OF SOUTH FORESTVILLE AVENUE FEATURE SOME OF PULLMAN'S HISTORIC HOMES AND HOTELS. (HPF / ROBERT SHYMANSKI)

THE 12000 BLOCK OF SOUTH CHAMPLAIN AVENUE AND THE 11200 BLOCK OF SOUTH FORESTVILLE AVENUE FEATURE SOME OF PULLMAN’S HISTORIC HOMES AND HOTELS. (HPF / ROBERT SHYMANSKI)

Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, and Congresswoman Robin Kelly today announced their intention to introduce legislation that would make the Pullman Historic District Chicago’s first national park.

Since last year, a movement to designate the South Side Pullman neighborhood a national park has gained momentum. Its historic building stock—full of Romanesque and Victorian Queen Anne style buildings by architect Solon Spencer Beman and landscape architect Nathan F. Barrett — was lauded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago Issues Demolition Permit for Cuneo Memorial Hospital

Development, Midwest, News, Preservation
Thursday, January 23, 2014
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cuneo memorial hospital, a 1957 Edo Belli building, is slated for demolition. (devin hunter via flickr)

cuneo memorial hospital, a 1957 Edo Belli building, is slated for demolition. (devin hunter via flickr)

Chicago officials issued a demolition permit for Cuneo Memorial Hospital this week, dealing a blow to neighborhood activists and preservationists who have been fighting to save the curvy Uptown structure. Cuneo had made Preservation Chicago’s list of seven most endangered buildings in 2012.

Continue reading after the jump.

Is Chicago’s After Party In The Hotel Lobby?

Development, Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
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Chicago viewed from the top of the Willis Tower. (Andrew Langdal / Flickr)

Chicago viewed from the top of the Willis Tower. (Andrew Langdal / Flickr)

During Chicago’s last real estate boom it was all condos, and during the following bust developers were all about building apartments. The buzzword during this modest recovery, if you can call it that, is hotels.

Read more after the jump.

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Michael Sorkin Proposal Sites Obama Presidential Library in Chicago’s Woodlawn Neighborhood

(michael sorkin studio)

(michael sorkin studio)

After President Barack Obama leaves office, he’s expected to announce the location of a Presidential Library in his name. Its location has been a topic of debate for some time already, years ahead of Obama’s return to civilian life in 2017. His birthplace, Hawaii, has made a push, as has New York’s Columbia University, where Obama got his undergraduate degree in political science.

Chicago, the President’s adopted hometown, is a natural frontrunner in the preemptive race, as it’s where Obama made most of his political ties and first launched his career in public service.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago Group Celebrates Bungalow Belt’s 100th Anniversary

Midwest, Preservation
Thursday, January 2, 2014
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5300 S block of Sawyer mid to late 1920s bungalows (Eric Allix Rogers via Flickr)

5300 S block of Sawyer mid to late 1920s bungalows (Eric Allix Rogers via Flickr)

Among Chicago’s architectural peculiarities, none is perhaps better known than its bungalow belt—the swath of elongated, single-family homes that ring the city’s outer neighborhoods and suburbs. Read More

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