The iconic Old Chicago Post Office, reinvented
Idle for over 20 years, this historic landmark is thriving once again as the hottest office and event space in the Windy City
Once the largest post office in the world, this 2.5 million-square foot building that hovers over the Eisenhower Expressway is now the largest adaptive reuse project in the country. After sitting vacant for over two decades, the immense limestone facade and the Art Deco interior have been restored to their original splendor through redevelopment by the 601W Companies, who also own Chicago’s Aon Center. The excitement surrounding the revival of this one-of-a-kind space drew in some very high-profile tenants from the start, including Walgreens, Uber Technologies, Ferrara Candy, Cisco and Home Chef, PepsiCo and Cboe. And as of August 2021, crypto currency ATM provider CoinFlip became the latest tenant to join the roster.
Creating the ultimate amenity experience
When 601W Companies embarked on the project, they knew they wanted to develop an amenities program for the building that was unlike any other. However, they knew for a space this large, they needed the help of experts with extensive knowledge and a proven track record, so they brought in the JLL Experience Management (XM) team to handle the project. While 601W had a vision regarding the types of amenities they wanted, the XM team gave their input on the spaces as they were being designed.
A look inside
Along with the majestic lobby, this vast property features an expansive rooftop area and eight amenity spaces:
- Grand Hall includes the building’s food hall — From Here On — and will have several different food vendors and a bar, all of which will be open to the public
- Telegram Lounge has a wrap-around bar, Bocce court and pool table, with floor-to-ceiling walls and views of the Chicago River
- The Vault allows clients and coworkers to meet in an intimate setting with a spacious bar, fireplace, sleek conference table, and lounging areas on either side
- Boxcar is a state-of-the-art fitness facility with weight training, a boxing ring, and seating for socializing after a workout
- The Library features modern tables and seating, beautiful artwork and offers a quiet place to step away to get work done
- Marquee Conference Center includes a ballroom as well as several smaller rooms to accommodate corporate meetings and conferences, speakers, and evening receptions, complete with audio and visual systems
- Meadow is a rooftop oasis that boasts ample green space, basketball and tennis courts, a running track and outdoor lounge area
- The Penthouse is a loft-style space right off the Meadow with exposed ceilings, original brick and modern fixtures which can accommodate up to 300 for a cocktail reception or 150 seated guests for the perfect indoor-outdoor experience
With the exception of Grand Hall and Boxcar, all of the spaces can be rented out. Several weddings had already been booked before construction was completed, and many have taken place since the opening of the building.
Cultivating next-level tenant experiences
JLL also developed experience programming for the entire building. The grand scale of the Old Post Office gave the XM team almost unlimited creativity. Think basketball leagues and tournaments for tenant employees on the rooftop, or an occasional TED Talk-like speaker in the conference center. The stunning marble lobby is open to the public, so it lends itself to all kinds of different experience programming — and since opening, has included several educational and DIY workshops, retail and food pop-up shops as well as virtual cocktail-making classes taught by local mixologists.
The XM team also provided solutions for the fitness center and put an on-site staff in place to handle corporate and public events planning, including a community manager, a concierge service and two sales and marketing associates to help sell the property’s many event spaces to the public. A few of the programming activations that have taken place since the property opened have included an exclusive reception in conjunction with Hennessey and the NBA for the 2020 All-Star Game weekend featuring Michael Jordan, Derrick Rose and Lebron James, a Best Buddies 5K on the Meadow’s quarter mile running track, and a Chicago Architecture Center event.
Three bee colonies reside on the Meadow rooftop, producing 300 pounds of local honey annually, which is then jarred and given out to tenants and visitors as gifts. Fitness classes are held there on a regular basis as well as on the recently opened East Plaza, which has more green space, multiple seating areas and views of the river.
The city is truly excited about the incredible revival of this iconic Chicago building and the energy it’s brought to the neighborhood. Tom Larance, Head of Experience Management for JLL, said “To see the transformation of the Old Post Office to this thriving hot commodity has been cool to watch unfold.”
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