Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chicago Streetscene: Veined Lantern

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting Chicago Culture's Light out from under the Bushel - One Word, Benjamin: Streaming

If you're one of the people who actually check out my monthly calendars, you know - both of you - that there's always a wealth of great lectures, forums and presentations going on.  Like fireflies, they light for a moment and then disappear.  If you live anywhere else in the world other than Chicago, or if you just couldn't make it downtown that day, well, too bad for you.

It took cultural institutions a long time to figure out that whole internet thingy.  And they're still catching up to basic idea that public events needn't be disposables.

At one time, the Graham Foundation was making its lectures available online, but that seems to have fallen by the wayside  To best of my knowledge, the great Art Institute creates custom-made videos, but no streaming.
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Now, the Chicago Architecture Foundation has taken the reins and gone where its more monied brethren have dared not tread.  I knew that last Wednesday's CAF lunchtime lecture with Lesley Slavitt of Roosevelt University and VOA's Christopher Groesbeck discussing the school's spectacular new dorm building was likely to be a good one.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get away (and it sounds like they had a full house), but, picking up on a CAF Facebook post, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I could also take in the lecture on my computer as it streamed live.
It wasn't anything fancy - just a single camera covering both the speaker and the projected slides, and there was, truth to tell, some major audio distortion problems - but it meant that even those who couldn't be there in person didn't have to miss out.  More to the point, a recording of the lecture is now available on the CAF Facebook page to anyone in the world via on-line streaming.

The technology - in this case via Ustream - isn't expensive.  In its basic form, including ads, it's actually free.  Surely Chicago's other great cultural institutions can afford free.  For a bit more money and effort, you could load the slides beforehand and actually show them in full screen with occasional cuts to the speaker.  You can go High Def or have multiple cameras.  You can even do green screen effects.  Think Alison Fisher lecturing on Bertrand Goldberg while appearing to be hanging by her thumbs off a Marina City balcony. (ok, maybe some bells and whistles you don't really need). 

The point is that the technology is manageable and it's inexpensive.  How long before Chicago's major institutions transcend the 20th century and enter the 21st?

The Chicago Humanities Festival is already on the ball, posting YouTube videos of many of its lectures, including such speakers as Dan Savage, playwrights Tony Kushner and Sam Shepard, as well as the lecture by Jeanne Gang you see below.

Tonight, Tuesday, February 28th, the Chicago Architecture Foundation is offering the latest in its series of Chicago Debates: Beating the Odds: Designing a Casino for Chicago - Lakeside Resort or Bling Bingo in a Box, an all-star event moderated by Edward Lifson with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the Reader's Mick Dumke, CNU's John Norquist, Kimbel Goluska and Dennis Judd.  (Apologies for the montage below.)
 It starts at 6:00 p.m., it's free with registration, and it's at the fabulous Chicago Theater.  If you can, you should go.  If you can't, the CAF is streaming it for you, off of their Facebook page.  There's no link for it yet, but I'm betting there will be by 6:00 p.m. Tuesday.

If the CAF and CHF can do it, why not everyone else?  Chicago's riches shouldn't be a local secret.  They should be available to the world.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Erleichterung im Winter

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It's been there,  inverted subversive flowering from the dead branches of Winter, since just before December's longest night, and, as the endless chill darkness finally begins to ebb, blushes our impatience for Spring.
A collaboration between the GSA, Portraits of Hope, and young artists from Comer Children's Hospital at the U of C, and Kenwood Academy, in the empty building at 212 South State.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chicago Streetscene: Odalisque on State

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Mies to Stop Flowing at IBM lobby?

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The architecture of Mies van der Rohe is all about openness and sweep, but try to tell that to the current owners of his classic IBM Building, now known by its address, 330 North Wabash.

The preliminary report from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. issued just before the property became officially designated, referenced "first-floor lobby interior" as one of the structure's historical and architectural features meriting protection.  Apparently something got lost in the translation.  On Monday, I took these pictures of metal framing and drywall going up to partition off the north end of the lobby, where doors and windows have been covered in brown paper to avoid prying eyes.  The Landmarks Commission has been reviewing and approving multiple noncontroversial renovations to 330, mostly on the upper tenant-occupied floors, but also including the recently completed accessible ramp to the plaza off of State and a future additional canopy for the hotel finally going into the space.  I was unable to find any authorization of this construction in the most recent permit review reports.
In December of 2010, Hong-Kong based Great Eagle Holdings announced that they had acquired floors 2 through 13 of 330 N. Wabash for a new 216 room Langham Hotel.  The office portion of the structure is also doing well, on track to being 84% leased after recently landing some major new tenants, including the American Medical Association, in a deal - according to Crain's Chicago Business - that includes naming rights to the building.
Please, someone tell me these new lobby walls are only temporary protection, or that the drywall will be replaced with glass, but I fear they look a little too solid to be anything less than permanent.  Give it a decade or two and another owner will rediscover the value of putting it all back to Mies's original vision.

Creative Placemaking, 5 Big Ideas, North Grant Park Revised, plus Lifson on Prentice, Uhlir on Netsch, Aquilino, Doug Reed - lots more for February

Yeah, I know - I thought we'd be done by now, too, but I was wrong.  We've just added several great new items to the February Calendar of Chicago Architectural Events.

This Thursday, the 23rd, in the Millennium Room on the 5th floor of the Chicago Cultural Center, the Great Cities Institute is sponsoring Creative Placemaking: How, Why, Outcomes, presenting the results of a national scan of successful creative placemaking efforts. On Tuesday the 28th at the Chicago Hilton and Towers, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago will present Building the 21st Century City: 18th annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards, with Rahm Emanuel scheduled as keynote speaker, and an afternoon forum 5 Big Ideas for the 21st Century City.  And on Wednesday the 29th, at the Daley Bicentennial Fieldhouse, the Grant Park Advisory Council will both be electing officers (who knew?) and presenting the latest revisions from Michael van Valkenburgh for the North Grant Park Renovation Project.

From Edward Lifson discussing Those Mysterious Curves of Bertrand Goldberg's endangered Prentice Hospital at Häfele on the 23rd, to moderating a session of CAF's Chicago Debates - Beating the Odds: Designing a Casino for Chicago on the 28th, to Roman Catholic Art and Architecture and VOA's Roosevelt Tower, Marie Aquilino at the Graham, and Doug Reed at Crown Hall, all this Wednesday the 22nd,  

Rebecca Graff on Urban Archeology at Charnley-Persky, and a lecture and booksigning for Barbara Lanctot's A Walk Through Graceland Cemetery at Glessner House, all on Thursday the 23rd, Merritt Bucholz at IIT on the 27th, and the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois all-day seminar on Wind Loading and Wind Engineering on Tuesday, the 28th, and a Wednesday, the 29th crammed with Connecting Digital and Physical Space at DePaul, Randolph Tower at CAF, Ed Uhlir on The Legacy of Walter Netsch at the Cliff Dwellers, and a Pocket Guide to Hell at Gallery 400 . .  .

There are still over two dozen great items to check out on the February Calendar of Chicago Architectural Events.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chicago Rediscovered in a Luminous Field, at Cloud Gate only through Monday

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Ever since its unveiling at the opening of Chicago's spectacular Millennium Park in 2004, Anish Kapoor's  Cloud Gate sculpture, more popularly known as Da Bean, has been casting its funhouse reflections of cityscape and observers alike, but this week for the first time the amoeba-like sculpture was turned over to artists to exploit its mirroring potential.
Luminous Field, created by Chicago artists Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero of Luftwerk, is an installation of patterns of light and color projected down on Cloud Gate and its plinth by 10 projectors mounted on high towers, to a soundtrack of music composed by Owen Clayton Condon of Third Coast Percussion.  On certain nights, the installation also included concerts, and performers from the Collaboraction theater company.
"We create the stage for you to be there," says the team in this video.

The video shows the projections as a visual whole, which you'll probably have difficulty seeing as the installation has proven immensely popular, filling the "public playground"with people.  Since projectors don't discriminate, the crowd itself becomes a screen, with the presentation existing in three dimensions - on the plinth, in reflection on Cloud Gate, and on the spectators, themselves.
Luminous Field is a compelling demonstration - at once amazing and gentle - of the convergence of art, theater and architecture in the living dynamic of a great city.  Bathing it in striking patterns, Luftwerk helps us see and feel the city which we inhabit, workaday, often unseeing and unfeeling.  A benign bug-zapper for human beings, Luminous Field's light and sound draws in the politely jostling crowd, a flash mob of interacting strangers, individual personalities whose lives may never intersect again, for a small succession of moments finding common purpose in an exercise of the delight of being alive.

Luminous Field runs only Saturday, February 18th, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday and Monday, the 19th and 20th, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

One Month to St. Patrick's Day, Fourth Presbyterian Goes Securock Green

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The big real estate ambitions of a couple of Chicago's most prominent houses of worship took a big tumble, and we're all the better for it.  After a plan to build a 67-story Canyon Ranch skyscraper behind St. James Cathedral on Wabash fell through in the real estate collapse, the expansive plaza it was meant to replace not only survived, but it's now undergoing an ambitious makeover.

The Fourth Presbyterian Church also wanted to put a condo tower - 700-feet-tall - behind its gothic-styled 1914 North Michigan Avenue home, but abandoned the idea when those plans met with spirited resistance from both the community and successive 42nd ward aldermen Burton Natarus and Brendan Reilly.  Instead, they're building a five-story 82,000-square-foot addition to serve both the church and the community with classrooms, multi-function spaces and a 250-seat chapel.
The design, from Gensler, with Halvorson and Partners as structural engineers, features glass curtain walls along the block-long facades to the east and west, with a cladding of weathered copper panels.  The large window on the Chestnut facade denotes the chapel, bringing those staggering out of Ditka's a few steps closer to salvation.
The facade on Delaware appears windowless, but for the moment it's taken on a Christo-like aura, subverting the staid architecture of the streetscape with a big, day-glo green cube, courtesy of the mounting of USG Securock, a fiberglas/gypsum sandwich protecting from moisture, itself disappearing behind a layer of white Air-Shield, another vapor barrier. 

So check it out now - it probably won't look like this long.

Deus est aeternus, clara viridi tantum temporaria.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Attack of the Hypothetical Fare Scenarios

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CTA survey seeks public input about "hypothetical fare scenarios" - headline of Trib story by Jon Hilkevitch

Dear beloved passenger: The CTA would like to have your opinion about possible new ways to assess charges for riding our trains and buses.  Be assured that no fare increases are currently under consideration.  (You should also be aware that there's a really nice bridge on Michigan Avenue we'd like to sell you.)  But just in case we'd ever, possibly, need to increase revenue sometime in what we're absolutely sure would be far, far into the future, we would like to get your opinion in ranking each of the following 250 "hypothetical fare scenarios" ("HFS's") in order of desirability . . .

$2.00 zoned fares for rides under 5 miles, $16.00 for not telling the cops you look suspiciously zoned out
$3.00 per bag
$.50 per escalator ride; $1.50 per working escalator ride
$2.25 for basic fare, 50 cents for transfers, $1.50 for oxygen
$3.50 if the driver sits in your lap.
$5.50 if said driver shifts energetically as the bus turns a corner
$7.50 per transcript of cell phone conversations of the deranged passenger sitting next to you
$5.00 "mystery aroma"-free section
$2.25 if you bring your own squeegee
$6.50 to harmonize with the motorman on "Rolling in the Deep" over the train intercom.
$4.50 to make up your own street names for the overhead message board
$1.00 to place a bet on whether or not that red-faced guy running like a fiend will have the doors close in his face as the bus pulls away
$4.95 for the What Subway Tunnel Location Am I Stuck In? iPad app.
$10.00 to replace "doors are closing" announcements with "you're going to be crushed like a bug!!!!"
$7.50 to allow you to kick everyone else out from under the heat lamps
$24.50 to be terrorized by Robert Shaw
$6.95 to let you amuse yourself by changing the Bus Tracker indicator from "approaching now" to "removed from service"
$4.00 for each bus not bunched up right behind the bus before it.
$16.50 to open a beer concession at the back of the car
25 cents if you can correctly identify the viscous substance on the seat next to you; $4.95 if you can't
$1.00 if you let us use your Link card to fill up the vending machines at headquarters
$2.00 surcharge for stopping within two feet of the curb
$6.00 to let you shake down other passengers for cigarettes
$2.00 if you share your cab with the driver when the bus runs out of gas.

please turn to page two . . . .

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chicago under Construction: Burberry's on Michigan

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It was only last August when Burberry's two-story North Michigan store, dating from the 1980's, quickly disappeared into the ground.  In it's place is what's reported to be a five story replacement.  If Burberry has a published a final version of the design, I haven't seen it, although a year ago, the Chicago Architecture Blog published what they said was an early sketch, which you can check out here.
photograph: Bob Johnson
So here's some photos documenting the progress so far, aided and abetted by our indefatigable correspondent Bob Johnson, who they actually let up into adjacent buildings so he can get the striking aerial shots.
 photograph: Bob Johnson
 photograph: Bob Johnson

Sunday, February 12, 2012

new for February: Oganwu, How Much Does it Cost?, Navy Pier, Cultural Plan and more

Never too late to add to the February Calendar of Chicago Architectural Events IIT has added two lunchtime events for the lower core of Crown Hall for this week.  Monday, the 13th, Ifeanyi Oganwu of Expand Design will be discussing New Work, and on Tuesday, the 14th, Nancy Clark Brown of Autodesk education will be discussing how students and faculty are contributing  to the development of her company's product.

Elsewhere this week, the big event, Stanley Tigerman's lecture Displacement at the Graham on Wednesday the 15th is wait listed, but there's also a program of short films, All Tomorrow's Cities at Gallery 400 Monday the 13th, AIA/Chicago has The Role of Designers in Post-Disaster Scenarios, specifically Talca, Chile, lunchtime on Tuesday the 14th, Tom Lassin of Holabird and Root discusses their renovation of the Monroe Building at CAF lunchtime on Wednesday the 15th, and on Thursday 15th, Richard Sklenar of the Theatre Historical Society lectures at the Chicago Cultural Center, for Landmarks Illinois.  And this coming Sunday, February 19th, Chicagoland Engineers Week kicks off with Explore Engineering, an all-day events for kids 5 to 13 and students 14 to 18, at CAF.

Check out all the, conservatively estimated, billions of event still to come on the February 2012 Chicago Architectural Calendar.

On the exhibition front . . .

Architectural Drawing: From Europe at America, continues at the ArchiTech Gallery

. . . and we've added two new shows at the Chicago Architecture Foundation.  

Friday the 17th is the official opening day for Loop Value: The HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Shop.
In a nation obsessed with acquiring the most stuff at the lowest price, how well do we understand the value of the buildings and products we buy? How do our purchases impact the future of our neighborhoods? Visit Loop Value: The How Much Does It Cost? Shop at the Chicago Architecture Foundation and find a new design for your city and your life. It's a shopping trip unlike any you've experienced before.
Also at CAF through mid-May are the proposals of the five finalists to the Navy Pier Competition, on display through mid-May.
There are satellite exhibitions of the finalist proposals at public libraries throughout Chicago, as listed on the Navy Pier Centennial Vision website.  On this on-line resource, you can look at the the various designs within the site, and download the complete presentations of each of the five finalists, as well as view the videos they created, and videos of the presentations made by the teams at the Museum of Contemporary Art earlier this year.  This is an absolutely top-notch website, setting a great example of how such a project should be presented on the web.  Check it out here.

There's also a great new website for the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan . .  .
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is asking residents, cultural organizations and community groups for their input in developing the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan.  The plan will deliver a set of recommendations to support the arts and artists throughout the city, as well as enhance economic growth and Chicago’s reputation as a global cultural destination.  The last cultural plan was developed in 1986 under Mayor Harold Washington.  Since that time, advancements have been made in many areas leading to greater involvement from vested interests.  Ideas that sprang from that plan include the renovation of Navy Pier, the redeveloped Theater Row in Chicago’s “Loop” and the creation of incentives for film projects.
The website is tied into an aggressive social media presence on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere.  Four town hall meetings are being held to get public input on the plan:
  • Wednesday, February 15:  Columbia College from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  •  Thursday, February 16:  Nicholas Senn High School from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  •  Saturday, February 18:  DuSable Museum from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  •  Tuesday, February 21:  National Museum of Mexican Art from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Check out DCASE's Cultural Plan Initiative website here.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Death of the Newspaper: Here, Let me Help

 click images for larger view (and apologies to Stanley Tigerman)

I knew it was coming.  The announcement was made last fall.

Still, it was with a bit of rue that I opened my home delivery bill from the Chicago Tribune to find that charges have more than doubled - up 122%, the latest brainstorm from company management, and proof that gross stupidity didn't leave the building with Sam Zell.  No explanation on the bill, just a message about how much I must be enjoying the "additional 40 pages of weekly coverage,"  every one of those pages costing me more than a nickle each.  What a bargain.  Somehow I don't recall the Trib dropping the rates when they shrank the physical size of the paper several times over the last decade or so.

If any more proof were needed of the complete contempt in which the Tribune holds its subscribers, consider this:
  • You can't cancel your subscription via mail.
  • You can't cancel your subscription via email.
  • You can't cancel your subscription on the Tribune website.
When I tried to log on the website, I was told that my email - the same email at which the Tribune has been sending me bills the last eight years - was "not found.  Please try again.  Your frustration amuses us no end."

When you call the 800 number printed on the bill, you go into automated response hell.  "Let me look up your account.  Is your address .................  three.....zero......zero?" What? That's not my address.  It's the street number.  Should I just press "1" for yes and take my chances?

OK, I guess that's what they wanted. The automated voice instructs "If you wish to discontinue you service, Press 4." With a complete lack of confidence that anything good will come out of it, I press 4,  only to find that at the Tribune, not even being an automaton exposes you to working overtime.  A different automated voice scurries on to say, "Please call back during normal working hours." 

Which apparently will be another grim experience I'm not looking forward to.  On a website called Customer Service Scoreboard, Chicago Tribune customer service is ranked 425 out of 525 companies, qualifying it for the official designation "Terrible".  Comments posted:147 negative, 1 positive.

The negative replies get a canned response titled "Official company reply".  Which doesn't exactly raise your expectations, for good reason . . . 
Good afternoon, my name is Autumn Smith, and I am an employee in the Client Services dept at the Chicago Tribune.

Although our main call center is in the Phillippines . . .
What follows is a series of a graphic customer descriptions of what you have in store for you when you talk to one of those hapless folk at outsource central in Manila, whose English is reportedly somewhat tentative and who will apparently try to bargain with you if you say you want to cancel, and commit only to "taking your request", which may or may not actually be honored without a second or third follow-up, and possibly the sacrifice of your first born male child.
I was brought up at the end of the golden age of newspapers.  As a kid, I read all three of Chicago's dailies (somehow, Chicago Today, the aereated aftertaste of Hearst's old Herald American, never struck me as a real newspaper.) I couldn't even wait til the day of publication. Late every afternoon, I would walk to the corner newsstand to pick up the "Bulldog" edition of the Trib and Sun-Times, already carrying the next day's date.

Even today, I don't subscribe to the Sunday Trib.  I don't buy the Sun-Times on Sunday.  I can't wait.  I buy them as soon as they hit the newsstands Saturday morning, the same way that even though I
I've read every edition in the history of Crain's Chicago Business, I've never subscribed, because I can't wait until Monday or Tuesday for a paper I can buy Saturday afternoon. Which I do, along with the Sunday New York Times, pretty much every week, at one of Chicago's last surviving newsstands, at Chicago and Michigan.  Call me sentimental.
So now we get to watch the death throes of the very idea of a vibrant city newspaper, as the last survivors flail on their way to the graveyard.

Like pretty much every daily, the Trib killed off their book section years ago, shifting it to an anemic handful of pages in its Saturday edition, when a lower readership means not having to print quite as many copies of pages hardly anyone reads.  Now, the Trib's killing off even that, creating a Printers Row book section to be sold as a separate publication at $99.00 a year, about what I pay per year for the New Yorker and New York Review of Books combined.  The Reader's Michael Miner had a great piece on Thursday on a single Tribune article all but completey devoid of any curiousity as to the basic facts of the story being reported.

Removing content and doubling prices.  Making customer service an obstacle course. It's as if the sales staff at the Trib are all graduates of the class, "Marketing for the Suicidal."

It wasn't that long ago that publishing a city's dominant newspaper was thought of as a license to print money.  Now it's the way to burn through it.  It's the classic tale of challenges ignored as engorged margins became an addiction, of cluelessness, arrogance and desperation racing each other down a quickening whirlpool of dissolution.

You could get angry, but it doesn't seem worth the bother.  There's nothing you can do about death. It's just sad.

Time to move on.
 Why does the above shot remind me of the chamber pot scene in Visconti's The Leopard?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Four Buildings and a Funeral - Wrigley: The Architecture that Remains after a Great Company Dies

'The Chicago Sun-Times David Roeder is reporting today that the long abandoned William Wrigley manufacturing complex at 35th and Ashland, after being on the market since 2009, is finally being sold at a bargain basement price.

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William Wrigley, Jr. came to Chicago from his native Philadelphia to sell the soap manufactured by his father's company.   The young Wrigley was a born salesman, but his job was made difficult by the fact that the nickel price for a box of soap left retailers little profit.  So Wrigley convinced Dad to double the price of the soap to give stores a heftier share of the take.  Wrigley Jr's sales mantra was "Everybody likes something extra, for nothing."  And so he purchased 65,000 cheap red umbrellas as a free incentive for buying a box of soap.  When the umbrellas ran out, Wrigley turned to baking powder as the premium.  When he found people liked the baking powder better the soap, he dumped the soap, and looked for a premium to help sell the baking powder.

He hit upon the idea of chewing gum, produced from spruce bark and originally used by Native Americans to freshen their breath.  The problem was, however, that the taste evaporated after a couple of minutes of chewing, so Wrigley did some research and hit upon the idea of substituting chicle, from sapodilla trees, up until them used primarily in making rubber.

And again, "chewing candy" soon proved more popular than baking powder.  In 1893, as people from all the world flocked to Chicago's World Columbian Exposition, Wrigley came out with both the Wrigley's Spearmint and Juicy Fruit brands.  To get his display cases into retailers, he gave away knives, lamps, scales, coffee grinders and even cash registers.  In 1909, Wrigley bought out the company that supplied him his gum, and began manufacturing it himself as the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company.

When a financial panic swept the country in 1907, and his competitors were slashing their marketing budgets, Wrigley took out a $250,000 loan to buy an advertising schedule that in more prosperous times would have cost $1.5 million. "Dull times are the very times when you need advertising most." By 1910, $170,000 in annual sales had skyrocketed to $3 million.  By the time Wrigley died in 1932, he had spent $100 million in advertising his products.
In 1912, Wrigley bought 4-and-a-half acres of land at 35th and Ashland, part of a revolutionary new 400 acre Central Manufacturing District, formed to provide business for the Chicago Junction Railway, which had added capacity far beyond the needs of its original client, Chicago's Union Stockyards.  By 1915, according to a Chicago Landmarks Commission report, over 200 companies had joined Wrigley in the CMD.  Wrigley took up a large part of the 250,000 square-foot building on Ashland designed in 1911 by architect A.S. Alschuler.
Behind it, in 1913, he erected his own six-story, 175,000 square-foot factory, designed by the firm of Postle and Fisher.  In a book promoting the CMD, among the numerous other testimonials, there's a letter from Wrigley's Industrial Agent H.E. Poronto:
During the first year in our new location, we have found it even better than originally represented.  The service which has been rendered us by the Chicago Junction Railway Company in daily handling our ten to twelve incoming cars has been of the very best . . . We have affected a saving of $35,000 in the one item of cartage alone . . . The district is easily accessible from all parts of Chicago, as it indicated by the fact that of the 450 odd employees which we had at the we moved here from West Van Buren & Halsted Streets, fully 98% remained with us.
 At that time, 48% the city's population lived within a four-mile radius of the CMD.
Down through the decades, Wrigley became a global force in gum,.  Employment at the factory peaked at 1,700 in the 1960's, but even as late as 2001, the CMD plant was still the company's largest, with a thousand employees working in three shifts turning out 30,000 cases of gum a day.  Reported the Sun-Times' Sandra Guy:
The lumps of gooey stuff drop onto conveyor belts that seem to endlessly move the gum through the stainless steel and white lab-like environment inside the six-story plant. The all-synthetic gum base is heated, matched with the appropriate flavor, spiked with a high-intensity sweetener, pushed onto a palleted merry-go-round and cooled to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
 By that time, the company was being run by the 37-year-old great-grandson of William Wrigley, Jr, strangely enough, also named William Wrigley, Jr.  Wrigley had lost big with $17 million investment in Flip Flipkowski's high-tech incubator company Divine, Inc, which burned through a billion dollars in cash by the time the dot.com bubble burst.  Flipkowski has lined up $14 million in city subsidies for a corporate headquarters at the Northwest corner of Goose Island.  He never collected, but the city then offered a $15 million tax subsidy for Wrigley to take over and develop the site.
The result was Wrigley's Global Innovation Center, a 193,000 square-foot, $45,000,000 facility designed by Gyo Obata leading a team from HOK.  The complex, which was certified LEEDgold in 2009,  including a 40,000 square foot pilot plant for testing manufacturing processes, and a main building centered by a winter garden covered by a glass tension cabled ceiling with 540 individual panels, and 25 different species of plants from four continents, a representation of Wrigley's global reach. "This building," said Wrigley,  "is a physical representation of our aspirations."

But not for long.

When the new Innovation Center and its $14 million in city subsidies were announced in 2002, then Mayor Richard M. Daley stressed that Wrigley had assured him the 35th street plant and its jobs would not be threatened by the new facility, and he was going to get it in writing.  "We're still working on all of that," his then Planning and Development Commissioner Alica Berg told the Sun-Times, " but it's my understanding that it's their intention to expand their manufacturing into the space that their innovations center would be vacating."
Daley never got that promise in writing, and one month after the opening of the Global Innovation Center, Wrigley announced they were closing the south side plant in December of that year.  225 employees moved over to the Goose Island facility; the rest lost their jobs.  "While this is a difficult decision for me personally, we would not be making this choice if we did not believe that this change was absolutely necessary for the long-term vitality of our company," said Bill Wrigley Jr.  "We value our deep roots in the city of Chicago, even as our business and our workforce continue to change," he said in a statement.

The remaining 600 workers were shifted, offered early retirement , or laid off.   In 2002,  the same year the Goose Island facility was announced, Wrigley failed in a takeover of Hershey Foods, in what turned out to be its last chance to keep large enough to compete globally.  In 2008, the Wrigley Company was acquired by international behemoth Mars.  In January, 2010, William Wrigley, Jr., himself, was gone. For the first time in its century-long history, a Wrigley was no longer running the company  In 2011, Mars dumped another 100 workers and announced its intentions to sell off the Michigan Avenue headquarters, shifting the last employees to the Goose Island facility, now the last remnant of a company that once helped define Chicago.
In 2009, Wrigley hired CB Richard Ellis to sell off the 1.3 million square-foot, 30 acre complex. For nearly three years, there were no takers, until this week.  David Roeder is reporting in the Sun-Times that the original asking price was about $19 million, but the actual sale price wound up being closer to 5. What was once one of the manufacturing powerhouses of Chicago is essentially being sold for scrap.