Gensler released the plans for its renovation and restoration of the famed Graham, Anderson, Probst & White Post Office in Chicago. The 1932 structure, out of commission since 1997, will be used for office space, retail space, a conference center, tenant amenities, a food hall, a roof deck, parking, and a river-facing lawn. Renovations will cost over $600 million to overhaul the building that, at 2.5 million square feet, can hold an impressive 2,000 people per floor. It is currently the largest redevelopment in the United States.
Officially dubbed “The Post Office,” the project features a spiffy new logo that evokes wings in flight, a motif that appears throughout the initial renderings as light fixtures and design elements.
While certain original features are restored, such as the postmaster’s office, lobby, mail chutes and scales (the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001), interiors are pointedly geared toward millennials (lest you think this is too presumptuous, the fitness center is depicted with the slogan, “Sweat is just fat crying.”). Throughout the space, exposed ceilings are juxtaposed with warm wood, cozy leather, and midcentury modern furnishings, with large expanses of glass revealing views of Chicago and that iconic limestone facade. The exterior is largely untouched, albeit with a four-acre roof deck on top that will hold an impressive amount of amenities, including park space, cafes, a quarter-mile running trail, and sports courts.
“We fully recognize the historical significance of this building,” Brian Whiting, president of the Telos Group, which will oversee parts of the project, said in a statement. “When the Post Office was built, Chicago was the center of catalog retail sales and the building was designed to handle fulfillment for the largest operators, including Sears, Roebuck & Company and Montgomery Ward. Fittingly, The Post Office will once again serve to promote the commerce industry, including the e-commerce companies that have replaced catalog houses, but this time with cutting-edge office space.”
According to the project’s representation, The Post Office’s anticipated new tenants have already spurred the development of nearby residential projects in anticipation of the new-old hub roaring back to life.