A demolition permit was released on November 21, 2017 for 1217 W. Washington Boulevard, the orange-rated Chicago Machinery Building designed by D.H. Burnham & Company and dating to 1910. This three-story commercial and industrial building has an outstanding façade with highly decorative ornamentation and an elaborately detailed cornice. The white glazed brick contrasts beautifully with the maroon-colored ornament and arched window openings.
The building is excellent condition as it was “newly renovated by an experienced developer” in 2015. An recent rental listing further celebrates “heavy-timber loft with high ceilings and lots of character.” The building recently served as the showroom for Veeco Manufacturing, a furniture manufacturer.
The owner is Peppercorn Capital, which owns multiple historic properties in the neighborhood. They applied for a demolition permit on August 23, 2017 and received the demolition permit at the expiration of the delay.
Efforts by Preservation Chicago to affect positive change and prevent the demolition of this outstanding historic building have yielded little results. This building contributes considerably to the character to the West Loop and at a minimum, we would like to see this extraordinary façade preserved as part of a larger redevelopment plan. Despite the release of the demolition permit, we will continue to advocate for its reuse for as long as the building remains standing.
The character of the historic West Loop is under intense pressure from new construction. With new buildings under construction ranging from 10 to 18 stories, historic two and three story industrial and commercial buildings on big lots are prime targets for demolition and redevelopment. There is an urgent need for a Greektown/West Loop Chicago Landmark District that would recognize, celebrate and protect this wonderful and highly endangered historic neighborhood. Downzoning would help to reduce redevelopment pressure on historic properties.