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Redevelopment of the Old Main Post Office is moving forward “immediately”

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

The previously announced plan to renovate Chicago's long-neglected Old Main Post Office is moving forward “immediately,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced this morning. New York-based 601W Companies LLC will be handling the renovation and restoration of the building, a process which is expected to take five years.

The $500 million project will transform the 250,000 square foot building into an economic driver for the city, turning the majority of its floor space into offices. A three-acre rooftop park complex and a landscaped riverwalk area are also included in the plans. In addition to cosmetic improvements to the aging exterior, 601W will replace the building's roof, install high-speed elevators, restore the historic lobby and install new electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation systems.

When completed, the building will be able to house an estimated 12,000 people—in the meantime, the project is expected to generate more than 1,500 construction jobs.

Originally built between 1921 and 1932 to accommodate the gigantic mail-order business of Montgomery Ward and Sears, the Post Office has been vacant since 1995 when operations were moved to a different building. With the proper tenants, the building could become another commercial hub, much like the similarly large Merchandise Mart.

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