“The Old Post Office has opened the nation’s largest private rooftop deck, giving office workers in the riverfront behemoth 3.5 acres of outdoor space to spread out during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The rooftop deck, which cost $19 million to build, opened Monday to tenants in the building. The rooftop includes a quarter-mile running and walking track; three-season, heated bar and pavilion; basketball court; heated paddle tennis courts for winter play; and landscaping that includes more than 40,000 plants and trees, with 58 varieties.
“Rooftop decks have emerged as a popular amenity in Chicago office buildings during the past decade, even though they’re lightly used in the winter. Many new buildings feature outdoor areas, and older properties such as the Merchandise Mart, Civic Opera Building and Prudential Plaza have added large decks for tenants.
“The rooftop is available to the building’s tenants, and it can be booked for private events such as wedding receptions. The space can accommodate as many as 1,100 people for events such as concerts when larger gatherings can resume in Chicago.
“The rooftop project required more than 10,000 helicopter lifts to transport materials, including 300 truckloads of soil and 5,000 cubic yards of structural foam, said Scott Kurinsky of Bear Construction, the project’s general contractor. The landscape was designed by Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects.
“Opening The Old Post Office’s roof deck moves closer to completion an $800 million-plus redevelopment of the former old main post office by New York-based developer 601W. The ultrawide structure along the Chicago River, at 433 W. Van Buren St., sat vacant for more than two decades before the first tenants moved in last fall.
“Leases have been signed to fill 81% of the 2.3 million square feet of office space, according to the Telos Group. Tenants that have moved into the Old Post Office or have signed leases include Walgreens, PepsiCo, Ferrara Candy and CBOE Global Markets.” (Ori, 9/21/20)
Preservation Chicago played a central role over twenty years in an effort to encourage preservation, restoration, and reuse of the entire building when many others thought that this approach was not possible. We also advocated for the building’s Chicago Landmark Designation.
Massive 3.5-acre rooftop deck opens at Old Post Office. Here’s what it looks like, Ryan Ori, Chicago Tribune, 9/21/20
Rooftop park awaits crowds at Old Post Office; The building is far from fully occupied, but planners expect more tenants will use the amenity once COVID-19 fears abate, David Roeder, Chicago Sun-Times, 9/21/20