Quicken’s Dan Gilbert snaps up Detroit’s landmark Book Tower

Detroit's Book Tower and Book Building were recently purchased by Dan Gilbert. (Wayne Hsieh)

Detroit’s Book Tower and Book Building were recently purchased by Dan Gilbert. (Wayne Hsieh / Flickr)

Dan Gilbert, billionaire founder of Quicken Loans and champion of downtown Detroit commercial real estate, last week announced he will buy the long-vacant 38-story Book Tower skyscraper and two other adjacent buildings on Washington Boulevard.

More after the jump.

British Council for Offices Conference 2015: Chicago

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

BCO-Conference / British Council for Offices 2015 conference in Chicago


In 2015, the BCO will be venturing abroad to the city that many regard as the birthplace of the modern office – Chicago. In the BCO’s first long haul adventure since the highly memorable and successful Conference of 2007 in New York, and in the year of our 25th Anniversary, we will be going back to the source and at the same time asking the question “what of the future”?

What can we learn from the innovation which created the first “skyscraper” – the Home Insurance Building – which topped out 130 years ago at all of 180ft tall, which we can apply to the workspace which we are creating today and in the future? Cities in America are facing the same challenges as we are in the UK, seeking to find a way to accommodate the demands of a technology hungry and sophisticated new demographic – both at work and at leisure, and in Chicago we will be comparing how different (and how similar) the responses have been on either side of the Atlantic, and looking at how those responses might shape the new cities and new workspaces springing up in Asia and the Far East.

Chicago’s Willis Tower reportedly up for sale

Chicago's Willis Tower in 2010. (Monika Thorpe via Flickr)

Chicago’s Willis Tower in 2010. (Monika Thorpe via Flickr)

Chicago’s tallest building may be on the market, and it might even have a buyer. Read More

Penthouse in Philip Johnson’s Pomo masterpiece to be listed at $150 million

The penthouse could be yours for just $150 million. (Flickr / Joe Shlabotnik)

The penthouse could be yours for just $150 million. (Flickr / Joe Shlabotnik)

Hey, one percenters, listen up (or pay someone to do it for you) because we’ve got some exciting news that might pique your interest. All the rest of you non-global-elite types can amscray. That’s right, you heard us, get out of here. It’s for your own good.

Read More

Chinese developer releases plans for Chicago tower that would be the city’s third tallest

Though the news is still unconfirmed by local sources, Chinese developer Wanda Group said it would soon begin construction on a 1,150-foot-tall tower in Chicago's Lakeshore East neighborhood. It would be the city's third tallest building.  (Wanda Group)

Though the news is still unconfirmed by local sources, Chinese developer Wanda Group said it would soon begin construction on a 1,150-foot-tall tower in Chicago’s Lakeshore East neighborhood. It would be the city’s third tallest building. (Wanda Group)

Chinese real estate developers Wanda Commercial Properties announced Wednesday plans to build an 89-story mixed-use tower in Chicago’s Lakeshore East neighborhood that would unseat Aon Center as the city’s third tallest building. Read More

Frank Lloyd Wright’s William Winslow House Up For Sale in Suburban Chicago

(William Winslow House Listing courtesy of MRED : Jameson Sotheby's Intl Realty)

(William Winslow House Listing courtesy of MRED : Jameson Sotheby’s Intl Realty)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s first independent commission, the William Winslow House, is on the market.

For $2.4 million, you can net this 5,000-square-foot home in River Forest, Illinois—a critical link in the development of Prairie Style, where Wright’s horizontality and dynamic interior spaces began to take shape. The home at 515 Auvergne Place is made of roman brick, white stone and plaster, and features the architect’s signature deep overhangs and stout, planar forms. A wide foyer, fireplace and built-in benches in the dining room are among its signature interior elements. Read More

With Limited Land for Housing, Hong Kong Looks to Grow Underground

International, Urbanism
Thursday, October 31, 2013


The housing problem in Hong Kong is critical. Studies estimate that the city of seven million will have to house another 600,000 people over the course of the next 30 years. With rapidly increasing urbanization rates, leading Chinese metropolises are speculating on fast and intelligent ways to manage population growth by creating additional housing within their existing borders. While some cities are growing taller and others are mulling developing rare and cherished park space, Hong Kong is taking a different approach. Officials and engineers have thought about something else: developing an extensive underground city.

Continue reading after the jump.

Seth Pinsky Leaves NYC Economic Development Corporation.  Seth Pinsky (Courtesy of NYEDC) After nearly five years at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Seth Pinsky (pictured) is leaving public life for a position at RXR Realty. As president of the EDC, Pinsky ushered in a number of major real estate deals including Atlantic Yards, Hudson Yards, and the Cornell Tech Campus. He also was charged with the task of heading up the Special Initiative on Resiliency and Rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, which gave birth to “A Stronger, More Resilient New York.” Mayor Bloomberg has nominated Kyle E. Kimball, currently the executive director of NYCEDC, to take on the role of President. (Photo: Courtesy NYC EDC)


Dan Gilbert Adds Two Towers to Detroit Real Estate Portfolio.  1001 Woodward, on right Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans founder and perennial champion of Detroit’s downtown real estate market, recently added two skyscrapers to his collection. The two towers are on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue. He acquired the 1916 Albert Kahn-designed Vinton Building (left) in December and scooper up the 1001 Woodward tower (right), built in 1965, this month. For more insight on the company’s real estate enterprise, which now totals 2.8 million square feet of commercial and residential space in Detroit, read our Q&A with Gilbert’s real estate partner Jim Ketai here.


Wright or Wrong? Debate over Massaro House Authenticity Rekindled

Friday, November 16, 2012
Frank Lloyd Wright's Massaro House. (Ahalife)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Massaro House. (Ahalife)

The story goes like this: In 1949 an engineer named A.K. Chahroudi commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design a home on Petra Island in Lake Mahopac, New York, which Chahroudi owned. But the $50,000 price tag on the 5,000 square foot house was more than Chahroudi could afford, so Wright designed him a smaller, more affordable cottage elsewhere on the island.

Fast forward to 1996 when Joseph Massaro, a sheet metal contractor, bought the island for $700,000, a sale that also included Wright’s original yet unfinished plans. Though he says he only intended to spruce up the existing cottage and not build anything new, one can hardly fault Massaro for wanting to follow through on a home Wright once said would eclipse Falling Water. In 2000 Massaro sold his business and hired Thomas A. Heinz, an architect and Wright historian, to complete and update the design, a move that incensed the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, who promptly sued him, stating he couldn’t claim the house was a true Wright, but was only “inspired” by him.

Continue reading after the jump.

Mart for Sale? Not So Fast.

Thursday, September 9, 2010
The Merchandise Mart

(photo: courtesy MMPI)

Earlier in the week Crain’s reported that the Merchandise Mart, Chicago’s iconic Art Deco design center and the home of the country’s largest design trade show, is up for sale. Vornado, the New York–based real estate company that bought the Mart’s parent company from the Kennedy family in 1998, is reportedly seeking more than $1 billion for 8.9 million square feet held by Merchandise Mart Properties (MMPI).

Yesterday, MMPI released a statement disputing elements of the Crain’s story, particularly recent profitability figures. According to MMPI, their properties are 92% occupied, a rate far higher than the 84% occupancy for the rest of the Chicago central business district. The statement implies, thought it does not categorically state, that the Mart is not on the block. Here’s the full release. Read More

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Some-Glass House for Sale

East, East Coast
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Philip Johnson's first commission work, the Booth House in Bedford, New York. (Courtesy philipjohnsonsfirsthouse.com)

Philip Johnson’s first commissioned work, a house for the Booth family built in 1946, can now be yours for the forgiving price of $2 million. It’s not exactly Johnson’s first building ever—that distinction goes to his Harvard thesis project, completed two years prior—nor is it exactly his best—according to one first hand report, it’s basically a Glass House with cinder block walls. Still, that’s about par in price for the area according to Coldwell Banker, and how many other of those homes can boast such history? Just so long as it’s not bought for the land and torn down like so many other modernist homes north of the city that have been lost in recent years.

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