In 1979, the great Harry Weese created a study for the U.S. Interior Department, Four Landmark Buildings in Chicago's Loop, that laid options for the adaptive re-use of four of Chicago's most important early skyscrapers.
Two of those buildings found loving owners - William McDonnell in the case of the Monadnock, and the MacArthur foundation for the Marquette - who painstakingly restored them to their original glory. The Manhattan was converted to condo's.
Only the Old Colony, despite being designated an official Chicago landmark in 1978, failed to find a saviour. In 1979, its 133,000 square feet were 85% leased, but in a Crain's report from this past March, one of the building's angry tenants said it had largely "emptied out" as the Old Colony, under an ownership group headed by a man Richard M. Daley once labeled a slumlord, became increasingly dilapidated. Crain's reported the building has now been bought by Joseph Cacciatore & Company, although no one at Cacciatore was talking, and their ultimate plans remain unknown.
Already, however, there's a very distinctive evidence of the new owner on Dearborn street (and thanks to Joel Flaxman for tipping us off about this.) Decades of grime that have given the Old Colony, for as long as anyone can remember, the patina of a coal bin, are being cleaned away to reveal - surprise, surprise, a light handsome brick.
The arcade, beneath the still-intact cornice, is revealed to be, not the dank aerie to which we've grown accustomed, but a wonderfully bright and graceful vertical coda.
The amount of work needed to bring the Old Colony back, inside and out, is almost beyond imagination. But here's hoping.