The Old Post Office, Chicago

2023 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Adaptive Reuse

The grand reawakening The Old Post Office in Chicago, built in 1921, is a testament to the indomitable spirit of architectural preservation and adaptive reuse. What became the largest adaptive reuse project in the nation was led by the partnership of 601W Companies, JLL, Telos, BEAR Construction and Gensler. They transformed the long-threatened and highly visible local and national landmarked building (included on Landmarks Illinois’ 1997 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois) into a luxurious office complex that seamlessly blends its Art Deco roots with modern sensibilities. The massive project demanded meticulous attention to detail, seamlessly integrating contemporary amenities while honoring the building’s rich heritage.

When The Old Post Office reopened in 2019, 80% of its available space was leased, a testament to the power of visionary planning. The building features modern amenities including a sprawling, 3.5-acre rooftop park, a massive tenant fitness center, private bar space and a tenant lounge. These amenities have not only redefined the office experience but also shown what is possible when redeveloping historic spaces. Federal historic tax credits were a critical and significant source of funding for the project, along with the Class L property tax incentive. It was reviewed by the Illinois State Preservation Office because of a historic preservation covenant for deaccessioned federally owned government buildings.

(Photo credit: Liz Chilsen)

Project Principals

  • 601W Companies Chicago MT LLC, Owner
  • Sheryl Schulze, Gensler, Architect
  • JLL, Managing Agent
  • Telos, Leasing Agent
  • BEAR Construction, General Contractor
  • Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
  • McGuire Igleski & Associates, Inc.

(Photo credit: Ken DeMuth)


*Above list is provided by nominators. Don’t see your company listed but worked on this project? Let us know! Email lwills (at)


Bryan Oyster, JLL

The restoration of The Old Post Office saved a historic building from demolition, safeguarding the building’s rich history and allowing the craftsmanship in the building’s original design to inspire future generations. Saving The Old Post Office exemplifies the power of visionary thinking and collaboration. It showcases the city’s commitment to preserving Chicago’s architectural legacy and embracing the potential of adaptive reuse.

(Photo credit: Eric Laignel)


Bryan Oyster, JLL

The Old Post Office’s renaissance saved a historic architectural gem, attracted investment attention and fostered economic growth in the Southwest Loop. The project generated thousands of diverse jobs throughout its planning, design, construction and ongoing operations.

Beyond the numbers, The Old Post Office offers a unique, transformative workplace that is measured not only by its remarkable design but also by the positive impact it has on the lives of its occupants. The Old Post Office sets a new standard for office environments that foster creativity, collaboration and innovation by seamlessly integrating work, life, health and community.

(Photo credit: Tom Rossiter)

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