Project Details

At 2.8 million square feet and $1.2 billion, Chicago’s Old Post Office (OPO) is the largest and most ambitious historical redevelopment project undertaken in the United States. The construction aspects of this project were challenging enough – a hulking, neglected building full of hazards of every shape and type, 30+ active rail tracks below, one of the nation’s busiest expressways running directly through the first floor, no working elevators and no existing utility services provided challenges at every step and the list could go on. Furthermore, all of this work had to completed under the watchful eye of various State and Federal historical preservation agencies due the property’s status as a landmark. This all makes for an interesting story in itself, but there was far more to this undertaking. The decades of abandonment, the many wild plans and rumors to renovate the building that never happened, and a cast of very colorful characters and events that played a part in the story of the OPO are what truly make this a one-of-a-kind achievement.

During the years of construction, and long after completing this monumental project, BEAR frequently found itself being asked to tell the story of how this all took place. The BEAR employees who worked on this project gave hundreds of tours, always having to use the grand lobby or the food hall as a base for its meetings. Enter BEAR’s co-owner and CEO, George Wienold, with a bold idea: “What if BEAR leased a space in the building to be able to host events, use as a starting point for tours and properly tell the story of the OPO? “. BEAR’s Client Lounge in Suite 212 is the culmination of that vision and a true reflection of the story of the OPO and our identity as a company.

Located in the original East building (1919), the BEAR Client Lounge showcases the building’s historical use as an industrial, mail-sorting facility. Exposed ceilings, concrete floors and brick elements hint to that brawny past. A huge focus of the redevelopment of the OPO was the salvage and repurposing of as many elements as possible, and our suite carries on that mission. All around you are items repurposed from the original building, as well as many from the renovation and even other BEAR projects. The original bronze light fixture above our fireplace, the glazing at our entry, offices and conference room, the lobby directory, the green glass above the bar, and many hidden trinkets and nods to the redevelopment journey were repurposed for our space, saving both pieces of history and space in a landfill.

Like the building itself, BEAR’s Client Lounge adds modern luxury and conveniences to those historical elements. Our history area features a full-scale mural depicting the building’s history, paired with an 80” art TV that showcases the many photos and videos of the project. Our 24-seat conference facility features state-of-the-art video capabilities to host meetings and groups of any size. The full-service bar, seating over 20, features sumptuous seating, several games, an amazing sound system and several soft seating areas near the bar and around the roaring fireplace. The space could not be all play, of course – there is always more work to do! Tucked discreetly behind sliding barn doors lie two offices, a pantry and a hoteling and private conference area for our employees who are there to work for the day or host a group or a tour.

Whether there to work or host an event, the suite operates flawlessly and is a true monument to the OPO and the work undertaken by BEAR. We also believe that the space reflects our creativity as a firm, our attention to every detail and our commitment to the City of Chicago and the Old Post Office. We hope to welcome you there soon. Cheers!