The Tribune Media Company has announced that it will sell the iconic Tribune Tower, located on Chicago's Michigan Avenue, to Los Angeles-based developer CIM Group for approximately $240 million. CIM Group will pay $205 million in cash for the building, with an additional $35 million contingent on certain conditions. The Tribune Tower was built in 1925 after its design was chosen in one of the most publicized architecture competitions of the 20th century. The $50,000 prize was awarded to New York-based Howells & Hood, just ahead of a design by Eliel Saarinen in second place. Entries to the competition came from around the world: Walter Gropius, Bertram Goodhue, Bruno Taut, and Adolf Loos all submitted proposals. Saarinen’s design was considered by many as superior, including by Chicago’s own Louis Sullivan. In the last 90 years, though, the Howells & Hood design has become a much-beloved member of the Chicago skyline. In 1980 a group of postmodernists—incuding Stanley Tigerman—assembled a series of “late entries” to the 1925 competition. Though what is exactly in store for the tower has not been announced, it is expected that the property will be transformed into a mixed-use development. The 35-story tower has 740,000 square feet of space, and the sale includes another 36,000 square feet of development space directly to the east of the building. CIM is also the developer for Block37, a large mixed-use development and tower in Chicago’s loop. The Tribune Media Company has also sold off several other smaller properties since the beginning of 2016. It will also be closing a sale of the north block of its Los Angeles Times Square property and the nearby Olympic printing plant. The Tribune Media Company is separate from tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing) which publishes the Chicago Tribune newspaper. Tribune Media owns or runs 42 local television stations and the national WGN America network.
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UPDATE [3:00 P.M.]: Related now has control of the Spire site, after embattled developer Garrett Kelleher transferred the deed Monday night. Related withdrew their claim in U.S. Bankruptcy Court following the transfer, reported the Chicago Tribune. They haven't released plans for development or sale of the notorious site, but President Curt Bailey issued this statement:
We are pleased to have resolution on 400 N. Lake Shore Drive, the site of the former Chicago Spire project. We recognize the importance of this site to the City of Chicago and look forward to creating an architecturally significant and thoughtful development befitting this premier location. We are proud to have a long track-record of developing landmark buildings with world-class architects like 840 N. Lake Shore Drive, 500 N. Lake Shore Drive, Park Tower, 340 on the Park and most recently, 111 W. Wacker Drive. We look forward to continuing that legacy on this marquee site.-- Halloween came and went last Friday, and with it so may have developer Garrett Kelleher's chance at reviving the Chicago Spire, an ambitious supertall project that faltered during the recession and left an empty cofferdam at 400 North Lake Shore Drive. Under the terms of an earlier settlement in bankruptcy court, Kelleher's company, Shelbourne North Water Street, was required to make a payment to Related Midwest by midnight Saturday. When it did not receive the payment, Related promptly filed papers with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago to wrest control of the prime real estate from Kelleher. Last year Related moved to buy the dormant project's mounting debt, but part of Related's development team later sued Kelleher for more than $95 million in guarantees for the project. Kelleher surprised many observers in February by offering bullish statements to the media and stirring rumors of a second chance for the Santiago Calatrava–designed skyscraper. Friday's missing payment undercuts those claims. As the Chicago Tribune's Mary Ellen Podmolik reported:
Related, arguing that Shelbourne breached an already approved settlement and the confirmed bankruptcy plan by not making a payment or handing over the deed, wants U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Janet Baer to order Shelbourne to relinquish the deed to the 2.2-acre site.It looks increasingly unlikely that the Spire will rise again. Under Related's control, however, the downtown location could see some sort of development—if not the audacious starchitecture for which it was intended. A court hearing on the motion is scheduled for the morning of November 4.
Via the Chicago Tribune, here are AIA Chicago's 2014 architecture award winners, revealed Monday: DISTINGUISHED BUILDING Honor Award •Beverly Shores Residence, Beverly Shores, Ind. — Booth Hansen •Jinao Tower, Nanjing, China — Skidmore, Owings & Merrill •Morgan Street Live + Work, Chicago — UrbanLab •Orchard Willow Residence, Chicago — Wheeler Kearns Architects •William Jones College Preparatory High School, Chicago — Perkins+Will Citation of Merit •FKI Tower, Seoul, South Korea — Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture •New Faith Baptist Church International Worship Center, Matteson, Ill. — Harding Partners •Ohio State University South Campus Chiller, Columbus, Ohio — Ross Barney Architects •WMS Boathouse at Clark Park, Chicago — Studio Gang Architects •University of Minnesota at Duluth Labovitz School of Business & Economics, Duluth, Minn. — Perkins+Will Special Recognition •Harbert Cottage, Harbert, Mich. — Searl Lamaster Howe Architects •Jacob K. Javits Convention Center renovation, New York City — FXFOWLE/Epstein joint venture •Wrigley Building, Chicago — Goettsch Partners INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE Honor Award •American Society for Clinical Pathology Expansion, Chicago — Epstein •Booth 455, Chicago — Woodhouse Tinucci Architects •Kids Science Labs, Chicago — Woodhouse Tinucci Architects Citation of Merit •Chapel and Office Wing, Lisle, Ill. — Harding Partners Special Recognition •PAHC Studio, Chicago — Studio Gang Architects •Pearson Residence, Chicago — Searl Lamaster Howe Architects DIVINE DETAIL Honor Award •Congregation Solel reading table, Highland Park, Ill. — Eckenhoff Saunders Architects •University of Minnesota at Duluth, Pickle Barrel Scuppers, Duluth, Minn. — Ross Barney Architects Citation of Merit •Soochow Securities Headquarters, Suzhou, China — Goettsch Partners •University of Chicago Administration Building Portal, Chicago — Krueck + Sexton Architects Special Recognition •Charles Deering Library West Entry, Evanston, Ill. — HBRA Architects •Illinois State Capitol Exterior Doors, Springfield, Ill. — Vinci-Hamp Architects UNBUILT DESIGN Honor Award •Liansheng Financial Center, Taiyuan, China — Skidmore, Owings & Merrill •U.S. Air Force Academy Center for Character & Leadership Development, Colorado Springs, Colo. — Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Citation of Merit •Nozul Lusail Marina, Doha, Qatar — Skidmore, Owings & Merrill •Tata Main Hospital, Jamshedpur, India — CannonDesign •Urban Filter Office Building, Geneva — John Ronan Architects Special Recognition •Bus Rapid Transit: HALO, Chicago — RTKL Associates •Haiti Cathedral, Port-au-Prince, Haiti — Epstein/Metter Studio •Virtual Water, Queens, N.Y. — UrbanLab
Chicago, in a bid to boost its tourism industry and cultural cachet, will host an international design exhibition next year modeled after the Venice Biennale, which every two years draws contributions from architects and artists from around the world. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the Chicago Architecture Biennial Tuesday. Speaking to the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin, Emanuel said he hopes to use the city’s reputation as a hub for modern architecture to encourage economic development:
"Obviously there's an economic benefit in tourism and travel. Chicago will continue to be seen worldwide as an epicenter of modern architecture… The real question is: Why wasn't Chicago doing this before?"The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the Graham Foundation will present the show, which will be based in the Chicago Cultural Center. The Chicago Architecture Foundation, whose annual Open House Chicago will coincide with the start of the initial biennial, will help coordinate the first exhibition, which is planned for October 1, 2015 through January 3, 2016. Oil company BP donated $2.5 million for the first show. Kamin reported that Emanuel personally solicited BP’s grant funding, and that the city’s still looking to raise $1.5 million more. While the Chicago event makes no secret of taking after its prestigious namesake in Venice, there will be several differences from that event, which reportedly drew more than 175,000 visitors in 2012. Admission to Chicago’s event will be free, and the show will not have national pavilions. It will have a theme, which has yet to be determined, and will seek to compete in an increasingly crowded field of international design exhibitions. Venice has mounted its exhibition 14 times in 34 years, deviating occasionally from its biennial schedule. If Chicago’s initial event is deemed a success, officials say they’ll duplicate it every two years. Joseph Grima, who co-curated the Istanbul biennial in 2012, and Graham Foundation Director Sarah Herda will co-direct the inaugural Chicago event. Another Chicago-based design curator, Zöe Ryan of the Art Institute of Chicago, is coordinating Istanbul’s next biennial, which will run concurrently with Chicago’s.
Chicago’s top art school announced big changes in its design department this morning. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago Thursday announced their selection of Jonathan Solomon as the new Director of the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO). Solomon, who comes from his position as associate professor and associate dean at the School of Architecture at Syracuse University, assumes the job officially on August 1. In 2010 Solomon, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Columbia University and a Master of Architecture and Certificate in Media and Modernity from Princeton University, helped curate Workshopping: An American Model of Architectural Practice at the Venice Architecture Biennial. He is the co-founder of 306090, a nonprofit arts stewardship organization. He previously taught design at the City College of New York, the University at Buffalo, and the University of Hong Kong, where he led the Department of Architecture as Acting Head from 2009 to 2012. He is a licensed architect in the State of Illinois. Solomon recently spoke on a Chicago Architecture Foundation panel discussing Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin’s series on Chicago designers in China. He is related to Lou Solomon, who helped found Chicago design firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB).
Cyclists in Cincinnati will soon have a separated bike lane along Central Parkway—a major connector between neighborhoods including Downtown, the West End, and Over-the-Rhine—following a narrow City Council vote last week. On April 30th, City Council members voted 5-4 to approve the city plan with a modification, adding $110,000 to the $625,000 project. Chris Wetterich of the Cincinnati Business Courier reported the city now will pave a tree-lined right-of-way near a building in the 2100 block of Central Parkway, responding to concerns from building owner Tim Haines and his tenants. As Wetterich reported, the bike path will still be built, but it’s unclear what implications the move could have for the project’s future:
Councilwoman Yvette Simpson reluctantly supported the measure but said she fears that council set a precedent by which other businesses will expect the city to provide free on-street parking in front of their buildings.Portions of the pathway—which will run through Downtown, the West End, Over-the-Rhine, University Heights, Clifton, and Northside—have been fine-tuned before. Community feedback led to some tweaks in the design between Elm Street and Ludlow Avenue, scaling back plans to widen the street in favor of a re-striped bikeway. Construction on the protected bike lane is supposed to begin soon. The city's website says, "Spring of 2014."
Like all-dutiful journalists, I read Romenesko each day (it's like ArchNewsNow, but with media links), mostly for the navel-gazing and doomsaying that characterize print media reporting on print media. And so it was with great surprise that I actually found some architectural news on the site Friday, namely that Chicago's Marina City, in addition to being one of the city's most famous buildings, is also one of its most notorious, so much so that one of the tenants has launched an online newspaper about the lurid towers, Marina City News. Second only to Mies's 860-880 Lake Shore Drive, at least architecturally speaking, Marina City was designed in 1959 by Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg, and is perhaps best known to those unacquainted with the city's skyline from its place on the cover the of equally classic Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by local boys Wilco. I certainly had no idea Marina City was so scandal-ridden, which only adds to the mystique of the lovelorn album--Was Jeff Tweedy in the know? Perhaps a resident? John Denver was. Or so reports the Chicago Tribune in its piece about the Marina City News. But, more to the point:
Towering over the Chicago River, the corn-cob-shaped Marina City towers have stood for 44 years as icons of the architectural daring that make Chicago a world city. But inside the 61-story buildings is enough scandal and intrigue to fill a daily newspaper, or so the producers of marinacityonline.com believe. The Web site says it is the source for news inside the self-described "City within a City"—a 2,000-resident microcosm of Chicago. There's the dentist brought down in a federal prostitution bust, power plays rivaling City Hall, and such quirky denizens as the colorful-suit guy who dances for passing tour boats. "We've got it all: sex, crime, corruption," said Michael Michalak, a real estate broker inside Marina City who is the site's sole advertiser. "But it's also a great place to live."While Romenesko and other media watchers are no doubt more interested amorphous First Amendment issues surrounding the site--its lone editor has been fined for operating it and barred from recording semi-public board meetings--we are more interested in the detailed intrigues of an architectural icon. After all, there are info sites and fan sites galore about the Empire State Building and Guggenheim Bilbao, but how many of them have their own dedicated gossip rags? We're adding this one to the bookmarks.