601W Completes Acquisition of Chicago’s Old Main Post Office

The iconic structure will undergo a $500 million makeover after lying in neglect for more than two decades.

By Ioana Neamt

Rendering of IPDNA's proposed redevelopment of Chicago's Old Main Post Office
Rendering of IPDNA’s proposed redevelopment of Chicago’s Old Main Post Office

Chicago—The vacant 11.3-acre site along Chicago’s Eisenhower Expressway has finally been sold to a New York-based investor. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced late last week that 601W Cos. LLC has finalized the purchase of the Old Main Post Office building located in the West Loop, and plans to invest $500 million into a three-phase redevelopment plan to revamp the vacant historic structure.

International Property Developers North America (IPDNA), the former owner of the 2.7 million-square-foot Old Main Post Office complex, announced the sale to 601W back in March. IPDNA, led by British real estate mogul Bill Davies, acquired the asset from the U.S. Postal Service in 2009. Davies passed away last Friday, one day after closing the deal with 601W Cos., FOX32 reported.

Earlier this year, the city of Chicago threatened to use its power of eminent domain to seize the vacant property, after IPDNA failed to move forward with its proposed redevelopment plan. Now, 601W Cos. plans to rehabilitate the building as offices and add amenities such as a 3-acre rooftop park complex, events space, as well as a sports and fitness center complete with basketball and paddle tennis courts and a running track. The plan also includes a landscaped and renovated Riverwalk and a grand plaza for outdoor dining and leisure.

“Today we are taking another significant step towards transforming the Old Main Post Office site into an economic driver for the City of Chicago,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a prepared statement. “This project will create thousands of jobs and generate new economic opportunities for residents in our neighborhoods, while restoring and reviving an iconic gateway to our city.”

The 24-month initial construction phase will include the restoration of the building’s façade and the start of window and roof replacement work. Phase II will include the installation of new building systems an elevators, while the final phase will renovate the historic lobby, common areas and tenant spaces. Pre-leasing is set to begin in 2017, with delivery scheduled for 2018. The five-year rehabilitation project is expected to generate more than 1,500 construction jobs. Roughly 12,000 people could work in the building once fully-leased.

“The building’s scale and architecture will allow us to provide spectacular amenities, green space and services no other building can provide,” said 601W Principal Mark Karasick. “This project is ideal for companies seeking a new corporate headquarters, particularly suburban firms that could more easily attract professional talent to a vibrant location along the Chicago River that’s easily accessed by train or car.”

601W Cos. also owns Chicago’s iconic AON Center, Prudential Plaza and 600 W. Chicago Ave., among other assets.

Image courtesy of International Property Developers North America