The National Chicago

Crain’s Chicago Business

Food court, record shop on tap for historic former CPS HQ

Blue Star Properties has announced plans for the ground floor of the 20-story Daniel Burnham office tower it purchased at 125 S. Clark St.

Blue Star, which has restored historic properties in Chicago, says the ground floor will house a station featuring rotating food-truck chefs, a vinyl record shop and other retail, and fast-casual restaurants. Loft office space will be available in the upper floors in the building, which Blue Star is calling the National.

Craig Golden—a developer who is also an investor in Longman & Eagle in Logan Square; Pilsen’s Thalia Hall and Dusek’s; the Promontory in Hyde Park; and Space and Union Pizzeria in Evanston—is a principal in Blue Star. A spokeswoman said Michelin-starred chef Jared Wentworth of Longman & Eagle will be involved, and Blue Star hopes to attract other local chefs “of the same caliber.”

Blue Star finalized purchase of the property last week, which most recently was the headquarters of Chicago Public Schools. Crain’s first reported news of the transaction in July.

No retailers or restaurant operators have yet signed on to be part of the project.

Golden and his partners say they want to “redefine the traditional work environment for today’s modern urban professional by presenting chic industrial office layouts, in addition to an inviting outdoor terrace, an in-house artisanal coffee lounge, a fitness center, a florist and a salon, amongst other offerings.”

FORMER BANK, COMMONWEALTH EDISON HOME

Designed in 1907 by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, 125 S. Clark was originally home to the Commercial National Bank of Chicago. The building was sold to Commonwealth Edison in 1912 and was purchased by CPS in 1989. The school district moved out last year.

“The bones of this building are beautiful,” Golden said in a statement. “As you work within this setting, you should actually be able to feel the history of the space. We’re really trying to preserve the natural, aging elements of the structure but with modern mechanicals and amenities included.”

Mike Lombardo, director of leasing at Blue Star, said the company is targeting “creative companies that are looking for a modern boutique environment in a location that has that central Loop accessibility.”

The building is expected to be ready for occupancy this fall.

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