[address listed as 358 W Harrison St, Chicago, IL, but I always think of it being on the corner of S. Canal and Van Buren – directly north of where Congress turns into the Eisenhower Expressway, aka I-290]
After 13 years of failed redevelopment efforts, the United States Postal Service is giving up and auctioning off its largest vacant property: the hulking 2.7-million-square-foot old central post office here.
The suggested opening bid for the auction is $300,000, which is less than an individual condominium goes for in many of the surrounding downtown buildings.
[Click to continue reading Bids Start at $300,000 for Chicago’s Old Post Office – NYTimes.com]
[corner of Van Buren and S. Canal]
The building is actually quite a lovely structure, I hope it doesn’t get torn down to have a mixed-use building in its place, or shudder, condos. The article doesn’t mention what property tax on it would be1, but even annual maintenance, utility and security costs are nearly $2,5000,000
The behemoth, which is nine stories tall with 14-story corner towers, is several blocks southwest of the Loop, the downtown central business district. It was designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White in a Neoclassical Art Deco style and built in phases from 1921 to 1932. (Graham, Anderson is the firm responsible for Chicago landmarks like the Wrigley Building, the Civic Opera House and Union Station.) The total cost was $22 million.
A peculiarity of the building is that it was built using air rights over railroad tracks that terminate several blocks to the north, at Union Station, and so it has no basement. In addition, the Congress Expressway literally passes through the structure. The two-story-high tunnel carries six lanes of traffic.
I’ve never been inside2, but I want to
“I miss the grandeur of the lobby,” said Musette Henley, who worked in the building in a variety of jobs from 1961 until its closing day and is now a customer relations representative in the new facility. “They don’t build buildings like that anymore.”
The imposing Neoclassical lobby at the north end of the building, which has cream-colored marble walls and an elaborate inlaid marble floor, is certainly a stunner: 340 feet long and 40 feet wide, with a towering 38-foot ceiling.
[Van Buren side]