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Report: Wirtz Family To Renovate Historic Downtown Building; Retail Tenants Must Go

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333 N. Michigan Ave.

333 N. Michigan Ave. (Credit: CBS)

Felicia Middlebrooks Felicia Middlebrooks
34-year veteran journalist Felicia Middlebrooks has co-anchored the...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — A plan to renovate a historic downtown building will benefit the prominent Chicago family that owns it, but it may not be such good news for those who pay the rent.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Felicia Middlebrooks reports, there are big plans in the works for the historic art-deco high-rise at 333 N. Michigan Ave.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Felicia Middlebrooks reports


Crain’s Chicago Business reports the Wirtz family – who own a liquor distribution empire, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the 333 N. Michigan Ave. building – will spend $25 million to renovate the office tower.

But the project means some, if not all, retail tenants in the building will lose their leases and be kicked out of the building, Crain’s reports.

The Wirtz family plans to redesign the lower-level façades, and add a new entrance fronting Wacker Drive, Crain’s reports. The family also plans to renovate the 25th and 26th floors, where the private Tavern Club was located until losing its lease in 2007, Crain’s reported.

A space of 30,000 square feet on lower three floors will be available for one or more tenants, Crain’s reported. To develop that space, the current retailers will lose their space.

Café Descartes, a Blackhawks team apparel shop, a Chicago souvenir shop, a Fannie May candy shop and the Marshall Piece & Co. jewelry shop occupy the ground floor. The Russian Pointe dance shoe and clothing store and the Pucci tailor shop occupy the second.

Fannie May and Russian Pointe are under short-term leases, Crain’s reported. Some of the businesses may be able to keep their spaces after the renovation, the newspaper reported.

The 333 N. Michigan Ave. building was designed by the legendary Chicago architect John Wellborn Root Jr., and was completed in 1928. It forms one of the four 1920s-era flanks of the DuSable Bridge over Michigan Avenue, together with the Tribune Tower, the Wrigley Building, and the London Guarantee and Accident Building.

The Consulate-General of Pakistan, the Psychemedics Corporation Drug Testing Company, and the Richard H. Dreihaus Foundation are among the high-profile tenants in the building. The Theraplay Institute was also housed in the building for many years.

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