Landmarks Commission Honors Chicago’s Best Preservation Projects of 2021

October 28, 2021




Landmarks Commission Honors Chicago’s Best Preservation Projects of 2021

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks today honored 12 exceptional development projects at the 2021 “Preservation Excellence Awards,” including the restoration of Union Station, the adaptive reuse of the former Cook County Hospital, the rehabilitation of two 19th century homes in the Old Edgebrook District, and the adaptive reuse of the former West Pullman School.

The awards, established in 1999, are presented annually to individuals, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and public agencies that have worked to preserve Chicago’s architectural and cultural heritage. Honored during a virtual award ceremony, the winners were chosen from dozens of projects reviewed by the Landmarks Commission’s Permit Review Committee over the last year.

“Whether reimagining a Chicago icon like the Old Main Post Office, or awakening a ‘sleeping beauty’ like the shuttered 1894 school in Pullman, each of the projects honored today represents an enormous commitment to preserving Chicago’s past,” said Commissioner Maurice Cox of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD), which provides staff services to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

Union Station, 500 W. Jackson Blvd.
Recipients: Amtrak and CBRE

First put into service in 1925, the building has served as a grand entrance to downtown Chicago for commuters and tourists alike for nearly a century. Extensive recent rehabilitation work in the Great Hall restored plaster and travertine stone, ornamental painting, reintroduced double-height windows previously damaged in a fire, and restored the 219-foot long skylight which illuminates the space.

Former Cook County Hospital, 1835 W. Harrison St.
Recipients: CHDG Phase 1A1, LLC: Murphy Development, with Walsh Group and S.O.M.

One of the most monumental adaptive reuse projects in Chicago history, the 107-year-old hospital building was converted into a 210-key dual branded hotel with ground-floor retail space, a small museum, and office space for Cook County Health and Hospital Systems. The extensive exterior work included masonry cleaning, terra cotta and brick repairs, and selective replacement on all elevations. The interior scope of work included interior restoration of double-height lobby and corridor spaces, repairs to the exit stairs for code requirement, improvements to the five passenger elevators, and all new electrical, plumbing, fire protection and mechanical systems.

Old Chicago Main Post Office Building, 404 W. Harrison St.
Recipient: The 601W Companies

Following a DPD-led Request for Proposals process that forced a private sale, the 2.5-million-square foot Old Main Post Office was converted into one of Chicago’s premier office spaces, attracting first-rate tenants such as Walgreens, Uber, Pepsico and Cisco. In addition to the extensive exterior work, the historic Van Buren lobby was fully restored, including figurative bas-relief tiles and monumental ceiling chandeliers. The newly-developed rooftop space, which is equal in length to three city blocks, includes amenities such as special event space, landscaped meadows with walking paths, as well as tennis and basketball courts.

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