Commercial real estate took a front seat in Chicago over the last few days. On Thursday the 10th there was an elegant awards ceremony for the 23rd Annual Chicago Commercial Real Estate Awards. The event took place at the Hyatt Regency Chicago and benefitted the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Among the many important awards that were given out was the Redevelopment of the Year Award, given to Michael Reschke, CEO of the Prime Group, Inc. The award honored the $430 million renovation of 208 South LaSalle, where the lower 12 floors were converted into the prestigious JW Marriott Chicago hotel.
And of course, is anyone surprised that the architect behind the renovation is none other than one of Chicago's finest, namely Lucien LaGrange?
Reading about the award for 208 South LaSalle made me think back to "the old days", when I worked for Jack Wing at The Chicago Corporation investment house. Besides investment banking projects such as providing funding for the beginnings of Waste Management and Blockbuster, TCC was the preeminent proprietary bond trading firm in the area, and our offices were in the very same building! The new JW Mariott restaurant on the second floor of the new hotel is where our old offices used to be.
I thought of my friends Jeff and Mary Lou Sydel, who used to have a jewelry store in the 208 South LaSalle building (they have since moved to 222 W. Adams). I have known them now for 30 years! I learned about gems from them back in the day, they were always so patient with me as I would stop by their beautiful store on my lunch break from my job at Chicago Corp and gaze at their amazing creations.
The other big event in real estate was the Benjamin Marshall Society fundraiser on Friday March 4 at Marshall's own design, the Drake Hotel. The well known philanthropist Richard Driehaus, recipient of the first Benjamin Marshall prize, had the honor of presenting the 2011 Prize to the Polish Consulate, located at 1530 N. Lake Shore Drive. They earned the honor by recently completing a renovation of the building while staying true to the architectural principles of Mr. Marshall.
In a great piece of irony, during the Benjamin Marshall event I was in the middle of negotiations for the sale of a home in another one of his buildings! How poetic to be helping a lucky family go through the steps of someday becoming owners of a magnificent home in one of Mr. Marshall's own creations!
Let's hope Spring gets here soon! Happy St. Patrick's Day!
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Tags: 1530 N. Lake Shore Drive, 23rd Annual Chicago Commercial Real Estate Awards, Benjamin Marshall Society, Blockbuster, Greater Chicago Food Depository, JW Marriott Hotel Chicago, Lucien Lagrange, Michael Reschke, Polish Consulate of Chicago, Prime Group, Richard Driehaus, St. Patrick's Day, Sydel and Sydel Jewelry, The Chicago Corporation, Waste Management