In late July Monaco-based developer Bill Davies stunned Chicago with a proposal for a massive retail and entertainment complex topped by office, residential, and hotel towers, including a 120-story skyline topper. Working with Lawrence Booth, principal of Booth Hansen, the full build-out would include 6.2 million square feet of retail, restaurants, and entertainment space, 3.8 million square feet of residential space, 2 million square feet of offices, 7500 hotel rooms, parking for 12,000 cars, and a 20-acre “skyline park” green roof.
The massive old Post Office building, which Davies acquired in 2009 for $20.8 million, will anchor the project’s first phase, which would also include a 40-story hotel tower atop the 10-story base. “He’s very taken with the building,” Booth said of Davies. “What he saw was 3 million square feet sitting on top of every possible transportation mode. You just have incredible access.”
Davies and Booth believe the site has the potential to draw visitors from the suburbs, the city, as well as tourists, and envision a retail/entertainment/leisure destination that could rival the Mall of America, but more upscale and more urban in atmosphere. “The first phase has to work and build momentum,” he said. “You have to deliver a high quality experience for people.” Booth envisions a theatre, movies, restaurants by top-tier Chicago chefs, along with a mix of retailers.
Pending interest from tenants, Davies wants to break ground on the first phase in two years.