Cover Story

Old Post Office plan: What else is involved

It’s expected to be one of the largest developments in Chicago history.  It’s a project to put the Old Post Office back to use.

A British developer bought the site to turn it into commercial and residential buildings.  Zoning had to be updated and changed to make room for the development plan.  When zoning went through with the city it wasn’t just about the Old PostOoffice but other pieces of land surrounding it.  Thrown into the re-zoning request was a handful of other parcels.

Davies, the developer for the Old Post Office, was hoping to use some of the parcels as part of the master plan but much of that hasn’t come through.

Other lots included in the re-zoning request include 720 S. Wells.  It’s an empty lot owned by two New Yorkers Alex Bize and Naum Chernyavsky.  Bize was one of Jay Z’s partners in his Rocawear clothing line.  The well-known artist has no connection to this project.  Bize however would like to build 700 units and possibly two towers at that site.

Whatever is built there could lead to big dollars.  There has been speculation that if gambling gets the go ahead in Chicago the old post office could be home to a casino.  Another site is right behind the Old Post Office is home to a Holiday Inn and owned by the people behind Aurelio’s Pizza.

A third parcel is known as 527 S. Clinton is currently a parking lot.  A small investor in that property is Richard Simon, the C-E-O of the janitorial firm that won a big contract at O’Hare Airport.  He’s a well-known Chicago businessman.  It’s not clear what will happen to that portion of land.  The investors were hoping to sell it to Davies, the British developer who purchased the post office, but that hasn’t come through.

Alderman Bob Fioretti says it’s important to keep an eye on all these projects since together they could represent “an unprecedented development that will affect the city of Chicago for the rest of its history.”

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