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Learning Excursion

The Old Post Office and Willis Tower Deliver Vitality to the South Loop

Date SEPT. 22, 2022
Time 2 – 4:15 PM (CDT)

Our walking tour of The Old Post Office and Willis Tower redevelopments will start with a bus ride from the Hilton to The Old Post Office. Old places can become new spaces when a developer with vision collaborates with an award-winning architectural team.

Stand in the foyer where 19 million pieces of mail used to pass through on their way to other destinations. BOMA/Chicago TOBY Historic Winner 2022 once looked as though the stunning architectural details of Chicago’s Old Post Office would be lost to time while the building sat vacant for almost two decades. But, the 2.5 million-square-foot building, originally completed in 1921 and expanded in 1932, recently went through a monumental, $800 million renovation, the largest historic redevelopment in the country. The building now serves as a modern multi-use event and office space that meets today’s need for large, light-filled workspaces.

See how historic artifacts and building details have been creatively incorporated into The Old Post Office’s design and tenant suites. Our tour begins in the restored Art Deco lobby with a brief history of the building. The tour continues to the 2nd floor, featuring the Telegram Lounge with a wrap-around bar with billiards and bocce, a gym with a boxing ring, lounge areas, and other unique event spaces. To round out the excursion, we will take a quick trip to see the nation’s largest private rooftop deck. At 3.5 acres, the $19 million rooftop includes a quarter-mile running and walking track; a three-season, heated bar and pavilion; basketball court; heated paddle tennis courts; and more than 40,000 plants and trees.

We will be walking from The Old Post Office, crossing the Chicago River, to Willis Tower. This is about a 5- to 10-minute walk, approximately three city blocks.

At Willis Tower, you will experience the property’s historic street-to-sky $500 million redevelopment. This tour will introduce CREW members to the newest spaces that make up the Willis Tower Neighborhood, including:

  • Lobbies & Art. A new lobby featuring a custom art installation, creating an art-centric workplace and cultural destination for tenants and visitors.
  • Catalog. A five-floor curated assortment of dining, retail, entertainment and event spaces spread over 300,000 square feet and aptly named after the famed retail catalog once produced in the building.
  • Amenity Spaces. Visit part of the 150,000 square feet of tenant-exclusive amenity spaces - providing opportunities for professional development and cultural programming.

At the conclusion of the tour, participants will return to the hotel on foot (appx. 5-10 minute walk). Excursion participants who would like to see the Skydeck must register for the option that includes the Willis Tower Skydeck tour extension.

Tour Extension Option (additional $30 USD): Experience a newly renovated Skydeck experience, one of the city’s must-visit destinations, which attracts visitors from around the world. Go to the 103rd floor, where you can step outside the third tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. At 1,353 feet in the air, the Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck and see Chicago from a very different perspective! This tour extension will take an hour.

Please note:

  • There will be mild walking. Wear comfortable shoes.

Chicago Architecture Center Docents
Terri Salas, Principal, Plante Moran
Korinne Smillie, CPA, Assurance Manager, Plante Moran
Kirsten Hull, VP Portfolio Director, EQ Office
Rachel Maguire, VP Portfolio Director, EQ Office
Tamala Ballard, Property Manager, EQ Office
Leeann Foley, Director of Construction Management, EQ Office

This tour is not ADA accessible