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

Chicago Releases Progress Report on Sustainable Action Agenda

Midwest, Sustainability
Monday, December 9, 2013
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chicago-based city farm turns vacant land into productive farmland. (organicnation via flickr)

chicago-based city farm turns vacant land into productive farmland. (organicnation via flickr)

Chicago on Friday released a progress report on its Sustainable Chicago 2015 Action Agenda. So one year after the city set 24 goals for itself, how are we doing?

Continue reading after the jump.

Writers Theatre raises $22 million to build Studio Gang–designed complex in Chicago

Midwest
Thursday, November 14, 2013
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Studio Gang Architects' design for Writers Theatre, an intimate theater space on the North Shore of suburban Chicago. (Studio Gang Architects)

Studio Gang Architects’ design for Writers Theatre, an intimate theater space on the North Shore of suburban Chicago. (Studio Gang Architects)

Roughly one year after it announced a fundraising campaign to reinvent its home with a Studio Gang–designed “cultural destination,” Writers Theatre in suburban Glencoe said Wednesday it had raised $22 million of the $28 million needed to build the structure on Chicago’s north shore. Read More

Studio Gang’s Boathouse Opens, Celebrates Chicago River

City Terrain, Midwest
Thursday, October 24, 2013
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Gang's WMS Boathouse at Clark Park engages the Chicago River. (Chris Bentley / AN)

Gang’s WMS Boathouse at Clark Park engages the Chicago River. (Chris Bentley / AN)

Amid the clamor to take advantage of Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House this weekend, some may have missed the opening of Studio Gang’s boathouse along the Chicago River’s north branch. The WMS Boathouses at Clark Park opened Saturday to fanfare led by the Chicago Rowing Foundation, who were eager to celebrate the first of four new boathouses to be built along the Chicago River. Read More

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