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Showmen's League building, Harry's Hot Dogs are doomed

Well, it looks like the quirky Showmen's League building and its anachronistic tenant Harry's Hot Dogs (which I first mentioned here) are in their final days. While I'm pleased that the John Buck Company is buying out the properties instead of making the city play the eminent-domain heavy, I still can't understand why the most powerful real estate developer in the city needs a $7 million subsidy from the city to build a plaza (in the not-exactly-blighted West Loop) which will primarily benefit - surprise! - the adjacent Buck office tower on Wacker.

"The last thing Chicago needs is another windswept plaza, another vacant lot," said Jonathan Fine, executive director of Preservation Chicago. "It sounds like a stupid way to go about urban planning."

The Showman's League building is one of the few left in the Loop that date from the 1870s, Fine said. He said it doesn't merit landmark consideration because of severe alterations, but still is more productive than a plaza that would mostly benefit Buck.
Nice words, but Fine and Preservation Chicago are tilting at windmills. The deal will get done, Buck will get richer, taxpayers will get poorer and City Hall will pat itself on the back for fostering "progress", just like it's always been here. Get yourself over to 300 W. Washington and enjoy the carved elephants, and a hot dog at Harry's, while you still can.

November 25, 2008 in Chicago Observations | Permalink


I just saw the news- i can't believe another piece of our history is to be demolished.
I am saddened. Again.
And I want one of those elephants....

Posted by: Mary Ilko at Mar 12, 2009 5:49:58 PM