The rumors have been put to rest about Chicago’s old Main Post Office building. Officials from Sterling Bay Companies came forth recently announcing a partnership with Chair of International Property Developers North America (IPDNA), owner Bill Davies, to redevelop the property.
Andy Gloor, managing principal of Sterling, told Illinois Real Estate Journal, that IPDNA has done an enormous amount of due diligence on the property in the last five years.
“They gave us a head start as it relates to the physical structure, engineering, and the PD that they received through Jack George. So we are benefitting from the money and time they have spent working on the project.”
It’s no surprise that Davies decided to partner with Sterling Bay, as they specialize in repositioning properties in emerging locations. Sterling Bay’s transformative work can be seen on the Near West Side, redeveloping 1000 West Fulton, 400 South Jefferson, and 111 North Canal.
In a prepared statement Davies said, “Sterling Bay has had great success transforming large, underutilized properties into highly desirable office destinations. The firm has played a significant role in transforming Chicago’s West Loop, and we feel that their knowledge of the city and current market trends will lead us to initiate the first phase of one of the most notable projects in Chicago in the last 50 years.”
The old main post office building arches over the Eisenhower Expressway. The building, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, has been popular for movies shot in Chicago, including “Batman Begins”, “The Dark Knight” and “Transformers.”
With $500 million going towards the first phase of renovations, Sterling Bay and IPDNA’s vision is to convert the property into 2.7-million-square-feet of modern office space and retail amenities. Gloor says they are hoping to start construction fourth quarter of this year.
“It’s a gut rehab, so literally an all new building system, windows, and roof. Everything in the building is going to be brand new. We’re restoring the main lobby entrance, which is beautiful.”
As for the next phases, and how much they will cost, of revamping the historic post office, Gloor said they were not sure when they would begin.
“It really depends on how the first phase goes and how quickly that gets done,” he said. “There is about four-and-a-half acres between the building and vine. That would be phase two. That’s yet to be determined what happens there.”
Gloor said that Davies has done an enormous amount of work on the building already.
“Physically he has not done anything to the building. But in terms of understanding the development potential of the building, he has put some time into it. He provided all of the information that allowed us to get up to speed with the building a lot faster than we would have, had we started it on our own.”
According to a recent article by GlobeSt.com, Walgreens has checked out the building according to media reports. Walgreens currently occupies about 1.7-million-square-feet in north suburban Deerfield, Illinois.
Walgreens isn’t the only business who’s shown interest in the property as well. As far as prospective tenants go, Gloor said that there is an enormous amount of interest in the building from a variety of office tenants.
Gloor says that construction on the building will take about two and a half to three years, and estimates early 2018 for the revamping of the once prominent post office to open to the public.