Old Chicago Post Office Story

After sitting idle for twenty years, the revival of the Old Post Office became the largest adaptive reuse project in the nation.

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 façade and the Art Deco interior are being restored to their original splendor through redevelopment by the 601 W Companies, who also own Chicago’s Aon Center. The revival of this one-of-a-kind space has drawn in some very high-profile tenants, including Walgreens, Uber Technologies, Ferrara Candy, Cisco and Home Chef.

The 601 W Companies wanted to develop an amenities program for the building that was unlike any other. For a space with this large of a scope, they knew they needed someone with extensive knowledge and a proven track record, so they brought in JLL’s experience management team to handle the project. Even though 601 W had already had a good idea of the types of amenities they wanted, JLL gave input on the spaces that were being designed. They procured restaurant options for the food hall, provided solutions for the fitness center, and will develop experience programming for the entire space. They’ll also be handling corporate and public events planning and have put in place an on-site staff that includes a community manager, a concierge service, and two sales and marketing associates who will be helping to sell the building’s several event spaces to the public.

The vast property features a majestic lobby, expansive rooftop area and six amenity spaces.
  • Grand Hall is the building’s dining area, with several different food vendors and a bar, all of which will be open to the public
  • Telegram Lounge has a wrap-around bar, Bocce lane 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 grand scale of the building gave JLL 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. And since the lobby is open to the public, it lends itself to all kinds of different experience programming—and some of the possibilities could include retail and food pop-up shops, art shows, and concerts.

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 even complete. 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.”