As you may know, I have a thing for real estate trivia and humor. So fasten your nerd hat on your head and check this out.
Look at the aerial photo on the left. First, see that helicopter? That is a commuter helicopter service that used to go between Winnetka, Meigs Field, Midway Airport and O'Hare....but that's not the story here.
The important part of the photo is what's missing around the Prudential Building? Lot's of things like the Standard Oil Building (now AON Building), the Blue Cross Blue Shield Building, Illinois Center plus a zillion new condo buildings. Instead in their place are parking lots and tons of train tracks. How did all those buildings get built where the tracks are?
The man on the right is Arthur Rubloff, literally a Hall of Fame Member of the Illinois Association of Realtors. He had the vision of air rights. He decided that he could negotiate to purchase the space above a space to build on this upper level. It happens all the time now but not then. This was way out there.
Rubloff negotiated with the city and state to basically build a huge platform above all those tracks and parking lots. They didn't have to move at all. Rubloff just made it possible to build thousands of square feet of office, retail and residential space in thin air.
Pretty powerful realtor, huh?
Sarah Rothschild, Realtor & Architectural History Nerd.