Montgomery Ward Catalog House/600 West
This mammoth building, designed by Schmidt, Garden & Martin in 1908, is considered to be one of the best industrial examples of the Prairie Style. Yet, when this National Historic Landmark was abandoned in the mid-1990s, it also ranked as one of Chicago’s most difficult reuse challenges. Five years later, its $240 million conversion is considered one of the city’s great preservation successes. The 1.4 million-square-foot interior now accommodates modern office uses, while its 1,000-foot frontage along the Chicago River features retail uses. Furthermore, the building’s somber gray exterior has been carefully cleaned, revealing—for the first time in nearly 75 years—its original red brick spandrels and decorative terra cotta and concrete ornament.