Build Your Own Chicago | Year In Review | Chicago Reader

Build Your Own Chicago 

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Chicagoans are justly proud of their many architectural and historical landmarks, but sometimes they get in the way of progress. In the old days we'd knock them down, no questions asked. Now pesky preservationists make demolition a difficult process, throwing up roadblocks at every turn. Fortunately, we've found a way around them, a way to preserve the past more conveniently and profitably: keep some and pulverize the rest.

This year developers gutted the Selwyn and Harris theaters, and we watched construction of the North Michigan Avenue Nordstrom, which will have the facade of the old McGraw-Hill building slapped on the front. Farther south, the University of Illinois rolled out a plan to paste a few Maxwell Street storefronts onto a new parking garage--complete with animatronic figures in the windows!

But why stop there? So many other rundown old landmarks are still blocking efficient land use in strategic locations. With these handy cutouts, you can take a waste of space like the Water Tower--obviously outmoded for its intended purpose and plan some real estate everyone will want a piece of. So get going, and build your own Chicago!

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustrations/Jenny Schrider.

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