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Big plans for the old Chicago post office

SHARE Big plans for the old Chicago post office

The old Chicago post office that lies across the Eisenhower Expressway could be redeveloped into residential and entertainment space.

Laurence Booth is an architect with the post office’s reconstruction team. He’s planning on the project offering something different to set it apart: free parking.

“You have to think about the surroundings. You have to think about the city scale. And you have to think about what people really want and, as simple as it sounds, they want free parking,” Booth said. “That’s why they shop in the suburbs. If we have free parking in the city, they’re going to come and park and shop.”

Developer Bill Davies bought the 20 acre structure in 2009 for close to $25 million. He wants to finish the project in three phases over the next 10 years. Phase 1 would include the construction of retail and entertainment centers, two hotels, parking spaces, a winter garden and a riverwalk along the west bank of the Chicago River. Phase 2 would include mixed office and residential space. Phase 3 would cap the project with construction of two residential buildings and a riverwalk on the river’s east bank.

Project managers say the redevelopment is expected to create 12,000 jobs and cost $3.5 billion. The managers did not answer questions about how much money has already been secured.

The proposal requires city approval.

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