update July 3, 2013: Crain's Chicago Business is reporting the London Guarantee is being purchased by the developer of the new Langham Hotel in Mies van der Rohe's IBM Building.
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Hotels seem to be the answer of the moment to an increasing number of development questions. A new hotel in Mies van der Rohe's 330 North Wabash/IBM Building is moving towards completion, while Richard Branson continues his conversion of Rapp and Rapp's slightly delirious 203 North Wabash into a Virgin Hotel.
Crain's is reporting it's about to be converted into a 145-room boutique Hotel Indigo.
Our last metamorphosis is probably the most pronounced. Since 1920, the 5,000,000 cubic foot Fulton Cold Storage Warehouse was the architectural marker for its food market neighborhood. The area began to gentrify, slowly at first, with galleries, restaurants and condos, but the process reached a tipping point, encased in steel, with the opening of Carol Ross Barney's spectacular Morgan Street Green Line station last fall. [Read: Instant Landmark]
moving to Lyons and selling off the massive structure to Sterling Bay, which is converting it to offices, with retail and/or restaurants on the first floor.
The video above shows the defrosting of the old building. It's as if 90+ years of life, in this case contained not in blood, but ice, being drained away before the corpse is re-animated. The Perkins + Will blog has some extraordinary photographs of ice formations within the building, here.
This conversion will ramp up the Fulton Market District's escape from its grungy commercial origins, even as it effaces its character. Office tenants, reasonably, like windows, and soon Fulton Cold Storage will look a lot like any other large loft office building in the West Loop. The totemic quality of this unique structure, this steep architectural mesa omnipresent on the horizon, impermeable and rock solid, 10 tall floors rising to the sky with shear walls of brick, both finished and raw, will disappear into the generic.