Nichols Tower Honors

The Urban Land Institute recently awarded its prestigious Vision Award to the Nichols Tower at Homan Square. The award defines the standard for real estate development in the Chicagoland area and recognizes “creative development practices, inventive partnerships, imaginative problem solving, or visionary ideas that have contributed to the growth of vibrant communities.”

The ULI awards panel was impressed with the Nichols Tower project because of its creative reuse of the building, Homan Square’s dedication to providing a home for nonprofits in the City, and the demonstrated commitment to supporting the community.
John and Alexandra Nichols deserve enormous gratitude for their recent major gift that allowed for important upgrades and improvements to the Tower.

This Vision Award recognizes all those who saw the potential of the Tower. Charlie Shaw always saw the opportunities others missed. Kristin Dean, our last Executive Director, fought hard to bring this project to completion. Generous supporters like
Bev Hayford, the Nichols family and countless others made those big visions possible.

Oaks of North Lawndale SAIC

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and a host of community partners launched an amazing art and community development project called Oaks of North Lawndale with the goal of replanting the community’s urban forest while promoting community development.

“Oaks of North Lawndale is an aspirational project that brings together the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the city of Chicago and the North Lawndale community to reimagine the neighborhood as a healthy, peaceful and tree-lined place,” said Paul Coffey, Vice-Provost and Dean of Community Engagement, SAIC.

The project kicked off with a community tree planting celebration hosted at Nichols Tower. The event included Mexican artist Pedro Reyes and his work Palas por Pistolas (Guns into Shovels). Reyes oversaw the production of his work repurposing weapon waste into shovel heads. These shovels were then used to dig the holes to plant the oak trees. The goal of the project is to plant more than 7,000 trees throughout the community.

Homan Square, campus providers and other organizations support this public art and community enrichment campaign to reinvigorate North Lawndale.

WTTW: Chicago’s Original Sears Tower Reborn as Community Center

Before it was called the Willis Tower, the downtown Chicago landmark was known as the Sears Tower. And long before construction on the skyscraper was completed in 1973, Sears had another iconic tower in Chicago. It was part of the massive Sears Roebuck headquarters on the West Side. Much of the Sears site has been torn down and redeveloped in recent decades. It’s called Homan Square. But the tower remained empty and unused, until now.

Tuesday morning, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on hand to reopen the newly developed tower, renamed the John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols Tower in honor of the longtime benefactors of the Homan Square Redevelopment. (The Nichols are also major contributors to WTTW.)

Continue reading on WTTW’s site.

Chicago Tribune: Rehab plan for Sears’ old West Side HQ takes shape

n Chicago’s West Side, massive structures that once housed Sears, Roebuck & Co.’s headquarters remain reasonably well-preserved but empty since redevelopment efforts a decade ago fell victim to the housing crash.

Now, a financing agreement approved last week by the Chicago City Council is moving forward a $55 million plan to redevelop one of the stately brick buildings in part of the North Lawndale neighborhood known as Homan Square.

Continue reading on the Chicago Tribune site.