Transformation of the iconic Old Chicago Post Office—from a vacated shell of its former self into one of the Windy City’s prime office buildings—is nearly complete.
The first occupants are planning to move into the building in October.
Once one of the world’s largest buildings, the nine-story, 2.5 million square-foot Old Chicago Post Office served as a mail sorting hub for the Midwest, from its opening in 1921 until postal operations moved to a new facility in 1997. It was notable for handling in-going and out-going mail and packages from two of the world’s largest catalog retail companies, Sears and Montgomery Ward.
After its closure the building, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, gradually fell into a state of disrepair and required a complete core and shell renovation, which included updating all utilities and adding new stairs, elevators and escalators.
“It is a night and day difference,” said Jonathan Sladek, project manager for WSP. “The building had been sitting vacant for more than 20 years and was in poor condition inside and out. The exterior limestone façade has now been renovated along with new windows, so the exterior is looking beautiful once again.”
As the structural engineer, WSP USA served as a key member of the team responsible for delivering the completed project to the client, the real estate firm JLL Inc.; and to the building owner, 601W Companies. The project team also includes Gensler, the architectural firm responsible for core and shell renovations and new design work for amenity spaces, public spaces; and Bear Construction, the Chicago-based general contractor.
Renovations began in 2016. Although the Old Chicago Post Office will soon open for business, construction and fit-outs will continue in the building through 2020.