“A Chicago planning department veteran who was hired last year to run the Cook County Land Bank Authority is on the move again, taking the reins as the new CEO of the Chicago Architecture Center.
“Eleanor Gorski has been tapped to lead the design-focused nonprofit, filling the role left behind earlier this year by Lynn Osmond, who left after 25 years to become CEO of tourism bureau Choose Chicago.
“Gorski will start Dec. 2 at the helm of an organization whose mission is to promote Chicago as a center of architectural innovation and education and is well-known for running its “Chicago’s First Lady” architecture boat tours along the Chicago River that typically serve more than 700,000 patrons each year. The nonprofit, formerly known as the Chicago Architecture Foundation, also operates a 20,000-square-foot CAC museum that opened along Wacker Drive in 2018.
“Gorski, 53, called the new job a “culmination of everything that I’ve worked towards in my career” with priorities of the CAC including historic preservation, studying the reuse of buildings and urban design, and running educational programming about design for students and communities.
“‘I loved the work I was doing at the Land Bank, and I so believe in the mission and would be grateful if I could still participate in some way, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I couldn’t pass up,’ Gorski said.
“Gorski previously spent more than two decades in the city’s Department of Planning and Development, where she helped shepherd city approvals for the renovation of Wrigley Field, the creation of the Fulton Market Innovation District, and early plans for the Obama Presidential Center and megaprojects Lincoln Yards and The 78. She left the department in 2020 for a role as director of design and planning for the University of Illinois Chicago, then moved to the Cook County Land Bank Authority in August 2021, overseeing the agency meant to give new life to tax-delinquent houses.
“During her short tenure leading the Land Bank, Gorski helped guide forward a plan to redevelop the Washington Park National Bank building in Woodlawn, the extension of the CTA’s Red Line and the redevelopment of the Land Bank’s 1,000th home. The agency’s primary mission is to acquire distressed residential properties and clear away tax liens and other debt before selling them to developers. The homes are then rehabbed and ideally sold, restoring their property tax value to the county.” (Ecker, Crain’s Chicago Business, 10/12/22 )