The Boeing Corporate Headquarters in Chicago

Photo of The Boeing Corporate Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of The Boeing Corporate Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of The Boeing Corporate Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of The Boeing Corporate Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz
Photo of The Boeing Corporate Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz

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The Boeing Corporate Headquarters
Formerly:Boeing World Headquarters
Formerly:Morton International Building
Formerly:Morton Thiokol Building

100 North Riverside Plaza, Chicago, Illinois, The Loop 60606
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Text by Wayne Lorentz

Half way between the Meisian ideals of the past and the skyscrapers of the future, the Boeing Headquarters manages to present a modern face to the world while being covered in a forest of unnecessary spandrels.
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But the big story here is how the tower was built. It is constructed hovering over very active rail lines running in and out of Amtrak's Union Station. The developers leased so-called "air rights" to create their building. In essence, they are renting the air above the rail lines for $1,300,000 a year for 99 years. To accomplish such a feat, a large portion of the skyscraper is built on a platform that actually hangs in the air, suspended above the tracks in part by a truss visible on the roof.
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To further complicate matters, when it was constructed the building and the land had different owners. The building owners leased the ground for their 36-story tower from another company for about a hundred years.
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Remarkably, the building was erected without stopping rail service even though some of the train tracks had to be moved.

Quick Facts
Statistics
  • Floor space: 770,300 square feet
  • Parking spaces: 435
Timeline
  • 1997: This building is sold for $167 million.
  • 2003: Boeing is given $63,000,000 in public incentives to move its headquarters to this building from Seattle.
  • 2005: Boeing buys this building from its landlord for about $200 million.
  • December, 2007: Boeing decides to change the name from "Boeing World Headquarters" to merely the "Boeing Corporate Offices."'
Notes
  • Architect: Ralph Johnson
  • Developer: Rubloff
  • Developer: Orient Leasing Company
  • Developer: Illinois Bell Telephone Company
  • The clock tower extends six stories above the main roof.
Did You Know?
  • This building was originally plained as a two tower office complex.
Tourist Tips
  • There is a Boeing gift shop on the ground floor of this building that sells hats, t-shirts, model airplanes and other aviation-related items.
Look For
  • A clocktower so modern that it blends in with the rest of the building and is easily missed.
  • The large truss over the lower portion of the building. Because of heavy commuter train traffic passing below this section of the building, it was not possible to drive many supports into the ground. Instead, most of this section of the building hangs off of the roof truss.
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