Two vintage office buildings sit kitty-corner to each other at Clark and Adams. Both began as elegant, upper-end structures, but neither has been treated kindly by time.
The Edison Building
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D.H. Burnham became so found of. Lions were an extremely popular motif on Chicago buildings, a clear symbol of power.
Little of that renovation budget seems to have been spent on the building's facade, If the contract didn't actually go to someone's connected brother-in-law, it certainly looks like it did. The exterior renovations read as shockingly cheap, with damaged textured terra cotta replaced with bare slabs that make the facade look like a fool's motley.
Ryan Ori reported that the CPS has sold the Edison to Blue Star Properties, for far less than the CPS had wanted. (CPS will now be renting space in the former Boston Store building at State and Madison recently vacated by Sears.) Ori says that Blue Star claim to be investing more than $30 million making the interiors more contemporary loft office space, removing drop ceilings to restore the original 11-foot floor heights. No word if the facade is in line for much-needed TLC.
The Bankers Building - 105 West Adams
As with new residential structures, many developers seem to have taken the tack that people don't really care what their building looks like on the outside, as along as they have good light, a view, and the kind of interior amenities they've come to expect.
Emporis cites it as the tallest Chicago building clad entirely in brick. In retrospect, that may not have been a great idea, as over time that brick suffered the same fate as the Edison's terra cotta, but at an even greater scale. On the inside, 105 West Adams remain a highly viable building, said to be 85% leased. On the outside, it's become a massive billboard of visual blight, a mosaic of filthy original brick and lighter slapdash repairs stippling the facade like cheap makeup applied with a trowel.
had an article (behind the Digital Plus wall, unfortunately) on how Murphy is also planning to make the long-vacant Art Deco Chicago Motor Club Building into a hotel. Ori says that at 105 West, Murphy's upgrades will include a new fitness center, and other renovations targeted to mid-size tenants who have seen their rental options shrinking.
It's probably too much to ask to expect something to be done about the facade, but in its present state, the exterior of 105 West Adams is a depressing presence. Set within the landmark architecture of the South Loop, it's a civic embarrassment of major proportions.
|Image courtesy the Chuckman Collection|
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Sadly, I think the only solution for the Bankers' Building is paint. If you gave it a meticulous cleaning, the repair bricks would still stand out. And there's no way anyone's going to redo the repairs with matching brick. Paint. The place could look great with a good coat of paint on it - do it with a light touch so as to preserve the texture of the brick, and the place would actually look great for the first time in a long time.
It’s real unfortunate site to see a structure like Bankers Building in such miserable condition. It’s a hell of a task to carry out restoration work for these old buildings, but, at least, these buildings deserve a good paint job. The Edison Building is lucky for it still have some elegance left in its bricks.
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