Orange-Rated Chicago Machinery Building by D.H. Burnham & Company Targeted with Demolition

1217 W. Washington Boulevard Ornament, Photo Credit: Gabriel X. Michael

1217-1227 W. Washington Boulevard is an orange-rated structure designed by D. H. Burnham & Company in 1910 for the Chicago Machinery Exchange. This outstanding building is highly threatened with demolition and is currently on the 90 Day Demolition Delay Hold List. The demolition permit was applied for on August 23, 2017 by the owner, Peppercorn Capital, which owns multiple historic properties in the neighborhood. Time is getting very short to save this significant building which plays an important part of the beautiful West Loop street wall.

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. The 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.

Preservation Chicago hopes to be able to affect a positive change and prevent the demolition of this outstanding historic building which contributes so much character to the West Loop neighborhood. At a minimum, we would like to see this extraordinary façade preserved as part of a larger redevelopment plan.

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. In the past, Preservation Chicago has advocated for a Greektown/West Loop Chicago Landmark District that would recognize, celebrate and protect this wonderful historic neighborhood.

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