Your turn: What to do with the Old Main Post Office?

August 9, 2010


(photo by Lee Bey)

Hollywood has figured out what to do with the Old Main Post Office that hugs the broad ankles of the Eisenhower Expressway terminus in the West Loop. They turned it into a bank and robbed it in “The Dark Knight”  Batman movie in 2007. And the building appears to be the scene of some noisy battle between good and evil in the “Transformers 3″ movie filmed around town this summer.

But that’s Hollywood. In real life, it has proven much harder to find a use for what was once the world’s largest post office–a building with 60 acres of floor space, a rail line running beneath it, and a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. British developer Bill Davies purchased the Graham Anderson Probst & White-designed behemoth a year ago for $25 million but–save the addition of a Blackhawks’ sign during the team’s Stanley Cup run this year, and the Sun-Times report in April that the late Philip Johnson’s firm, Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects had been brought on board–there hasn’t been much action.

Your turn. What would you do with the  3 million square foot building? What should it become? It has a staggeringly beautiful lobby on the Van Buren side, with murals and fantastic 1930s ‘Federal Modern” design. Most of the building is made of huge spartan floors–with plenty of columns–that once carried postal sorting machinery. If memory serves (I worked here while in college in the 1980s) the soaring Art Deco corners of the building are office spaces. And there is heavy truck access on three sides of the building in addition to the rail line.


(photo by Lee Bey)


(photo by Lee Bey)

Leave your comments below.