This site stretches on both sides of Congress Parkway, one of the most important gateways into Chicago’s downtown area.
Originally proposed in the 1909 Plan of Chicago as a central axis of the city, Congress Parkway begins by connecting three major highways at the Jane Byrne Interchange, then passes under the iconic Main Post Office Building, over the South Branch of the Chicago River, through the South Loop before ending at Grant Park with an impressive vista of The Buckingham Fountain. This site is also one of the few locations along the South Branch of the Chicago River that has public open space, but the challenge is how to connect a new river walk for pedestrian and bicycle access with the adjacent high-volume vehicular roadways.
The Congress Interchange Park was completed in 2012 as part of the Lower and Upper Wacker Drive reconstruction project. The project created a new three-acre park while also improving traffic safety by relocating and widening some of the exit and entrance ramps underground. New lights and landscaping features were incorporated, recycled steel and concrete was utilized, and the park was designed to divert storm water runoff away from the Chicago River.
Old Chicago Main Post Office was designed by prominent architectural firm Graham, Anderson, Probst, & White and constructed in 1922 with subsequent expansion in 1932. This iconic building had been vacant since 1995, when the Post Office moved opera ons to a modern facility. In 2016, 601W Companies LLC purchased the vacant building and they have started working on a $500 million redevelopment project. The historic lobby and exteriors are being carefully restored and the building will be rehabilitated for new office tenants. The project’s riverfront space will include landscaped river walk terrace activated with outdoor dining.