Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Chicago Place, Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Place, Chicago, Illinois. Promotional photo, circa 1995. (from Chicago Place directory)

Chicago Place is a mixed-use high-rise at 700 N. Michigan Avenue (between Huron and Superior Streets) in Chicago, Illinois along the Magnificent Mile. The base is an enclosed eight-story shopping mall anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue featuring 45 shops and restaurants; above that is a 49 story tower containing condominiums.

The mall is one of several vertical malls along the Magnificent Mile, which include Water Tower Place, North Bridge and 900 North Michigan.

Though initially successful, Chicago Place has struggled for years, losing large tenants including Room & Board and Ann Taylor and failing earlier this year to lease space to Best Buy.

As a whole, the mall lacks a clear retail identity outside of being the home of Saks, and suffers from its oddly configured vertical layout and dated late-1980s design elements. Still, the mall has its appeal, with a number of smaller shops that specialize in European imports.

Though not for long. Change is afoot at Chicago Place.

To combat the lack of success, the mall’s owners are spending $20 million to $25 million over the next two years to eliminate the eight-story mall's center atrium and fill in the floors. The planned makeover to the mall could eliminate as much as half of the roughly 160,000 square feet of specialty-store space.

Instead of a revolving door leading into a mall, the building's Mag Mile facade will have doors into three separate retailers. Zara, the cheap chic retailer from Spain, plans to open its first Chicago store in part of the street-level space facing Michigan Avenue. Saks Fifth Avenue will remain as anchor on the north corner and could possibly expand.

Another unnamed retailer will take 15,000 to 18,000 square feet in the middle, with a floorplate stretching to the back of the building and into the basement formerly occupied by Bockwinkel's grocery store.

Additionally, the mall owners are in talks to turn 100,000 square feet to 150,000 square feet on the third through seventh floors into a hotel.


  1. Wow, the tenant roster leaves much to be desired. Saks Fifth Avenue should either move elsewhere or engulf the entire building.

    Looks like Saks' usual neighbors are located in competing developments.

    Even the web site is unappealing.

  2. I remember going to this mall a couple of times when I was in Chicago in 1996. It was fairly healthy back then, but much less interesting than the other shopping centers on the Mag Mile. I pretty much went to Saks and the food court and left.

  3. Of the 3 main vertical enclosed malls along Michigan Ave. in Chicago(which are (Westfield) North Bridge, Chicago Place, and Water Tower Place), this has always EASILY been the least successful, of these 3 enclosed malls.

    And I can attest to this, since I've lived in Chicago almost my whole life. The only thing I enjoyed about this mall at all over all these years, was that the Wendy's in the mall food court area used to have an upstairs seating area that I ABSOLUTELY loved sitting in, due to the great view of the Allerton Hotel across the street. None of the other places inside the food court had such an upstairs seating area, as the Wendy's did.

    Sad thing is, I don't believe that Wendy's is in the mall's food court, anymore(and that this upstairs seating area has been closed off to the public for some time). Regardless, I really want to go to Chicago Place at some point, to see if both of my suspictions that I fear are likely correct. :(

  4. Yep, it's probably gone now. What a shame.