ParkView West in Chicago

Photo of ParkView West in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of ParkView West in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of ParkView West in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of ParkView West in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of ParkView West in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of ParkView West in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of ParkView West in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of ParkView West in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of ParkView West in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of ParkView West in Chicago, Illinois
Construction progress: April, 2008
Photo of ParkView West in Chicago, Illinois
Construction progress: September, 2007

Chicago, Northern Trust Outdoor Public Garden, Looking North

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ParkView West

505 North McClurg Court, Chicago, Illinois, Streeterville 60611
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Text by Wayne Lorentz

A lot of people in the Streeterville neighborhood like to complain about new towers. Sure, they all live in gleaming skyscrapers, but anyone else coming in and building a new one is a bad thing. The construction of ParkView West gave the NIMBYs a lot less to complain about.

The building takes great pains to be in harmony with its neighborhood. The style is sympathetic with other buildings in the neighborhood. With its curved glass facades carved out of square glass planes and masonry accents it even meshes with some of the newer buildings visible across the river at Lakeshore East.

But what should have been a classy design is marred by strange marks running up and down the facade. Closer inspection reveals them to be balconies in yellow and blue perforated metal. Next to the green glass and brown masonry of the building, it creates a Playskool image which might be OK for a rental building with new families, but these homes are for purchase.

More important, however, is the base of the structure. Sure, the colors are a little garish, especially for a residential block, but the podium this building rests upon is long and low -- just two-stories tall and the horizontal emphasis of its lines and windows makes it seem even lower. This helps preserve the increasingly scarce light coming into this corner of the city as the forest of skyscrapers around it grows taller.

But the big feature here is the item for which the building is named -- the park. Its two acres of space are the roof of an underground parking garage. More and more developers are taking note of customer demands for green space in the city and are building park of their own to accommodate those demands, and also to raise property values. In some cases once the developer builds the park it is turned over to the city. This has had mixed results, and its too soon to say what the fate of this park will be. However, one thing is certain -- it will get a lot of use from the thousands of people living in the area searching for some space to breathe.

Quick Facts
Timeline
  • 1937: Construction began on the Kraft-Phenix Cheese building at this location. It would include the corporate offices, laboratories, a processing plant and test kitchens.
  • 1938: Construction finished on the cheese company building. It was the largest building in downtown Chicago at the time.
  • 1939: Kraft-Phenix moved in.
  • 1963: The food factory shut down. At one time it produced 40% of America's Parkay and Kraft salad dressings.
  • 1972: Kraft moved its headquarters to the Chicago suburbs.
  • 1980: The rest of the Kraft offices left the building.
  • 1982: The city of Chicago started leasing the building that was here for $33,000/year for use as police headquarters. Police headquarters would later move to 11th and State and then 35th and Michigan.
  • 2005: The police building was torn down to make way for this skyscraper.
Notes
  • Architecture firm: Solomon, Cordwell, Buenz and Associates
  • Architecture firm: DeStefano + Partners (preliminary work only)
  • Developer: MCL Companies
  • This was formerly the location of the Kraft Building (with the address 500 North Peshtigo Court).
  • This was the location where Parkay margarine was invented.
  • The $2 million Kraft Building was built in 1939 and designed by Mundie, Jensen, Bourke & Havens. It was not saved from demolition because int he 1950's Kraft significantly altered its Art Moderne facade.
Rate This Skyscraper
method='post' action='/Building.php?ID=849#Rate'>Current rating:50% 80%  name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Praise' class='Plain'> name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Raze' class='Plain'>
Your Thoughts

There are three comments.

  I like the sleek and simple design of this skyscraper. It'll definitely be a welcome addition.

David Shmuel - Sunday, July 22nd, 2007 @ 5:24pm  

  This building will be a great addition to this area as it is going where I believe there is just a dirty old parking lot. I hope to see more development of this nature in this area and GET RID OF THE UGLY PARKING LOTS already!!! At least put up a nice looking parking garage. Anything is better than a fenced in lot with garbage blowing around in it.

Jimbo - Monday, May 21st, 2007 @ 1:30pm  

  I think this building will be a great addition to Chicago Architecture. I love the design with big glass walls.

David Berry - Friday, March 31st, 2006 @ 2:00pm  

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