CHICAGO (CBS) — A landmark downtown building could be undergoing major changes.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports, Crain Communications is moving out of the building at 360 N. Michigan Ave., known historically as the London Guarantee Building.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports
The building at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive is located on part of the former site of Fort Dearborn. Now, the Chicago Sun-Times’ David Roeder reports Crain’s will move out in the spring after 11 years as the principal tenant.
Citing an unnamed source, Roeder reports New York real estate mogul Joseph Chetrit, who owns the building, wants to convert it into a hotel and construct an addition to it on a miniscule parking lot to the immediate west.
A similar plan dates back to 2004, Roeder reported. Celebrity architect Lucien Lagrange was hired for that work, and tells Roeder that redeveloping the property would be “way too risky” for Chetrit.
Roeder adds there are numerous hotels in the area already – including the Hard Rock Hotel in the old Carbide and Carbon building just to the south. Several other boutique hotels are planned, including one at 203 N. Wabash Ave. operated by Virgin Hotels, another in the former IBM building across the river at 330 N. Wabash Ave., and a third in the Chicago Motor Club Building at 68 E. Wacker Pl., Roeder reported.
The London Guarantee building, also one of two buildings once known as the Stone Container Building, was competed in 1923. It features a pavilion at its peak similar to the Choragic Monument in Athens, although architect Alfred Alschuler said it was actually derived from the Stockholm Stadshus in Sweden, according to Emporis.com.
The building housed the studio of WLS-890 AM radio during the 1960s and ’70s when the station played Top 40 music.
On its ground floor, it also housed the London House, a restaurant and jazz club that hosted such legendary performers as Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, Nancy Wilson, Errol Garner, Ramsey Lewis and Marian McPartland. The London House closed in the early 1970s, and a Corner Bakery now occupies the space.
The building also stood in as the headquarters of the fictional “Chicago Chronicle” newspaper in the sitcom “Perfect Strangers.”