Ed. note: I changed the title of this blog post because one interpretation of the original, “Where are the most building permits issued in Chicago?”, has the answer “City Hall”, the location of the issuer. My bad.
Without regard to type or construction cost, the most building permits in the City of Chicago are issued at 11601 W Touhy Ave.
Where is that? It depends on which geocoder you use.
Google Maps puts it on this building that’s on a street called “Upper Express Drive” and in the city of Des Plaines, Illinois. But the City of Chicago wouldn’t issue building permits in another city.
Our own geocoder converts the geographic coordinates given in the city’s building permits database for these permits to the address “399 E Touhy Ave, Des Plaines, IL”. The Cook County parcel for the same location has the address “385 E Touhy Ave, Des Plaines, IL”.
Now where is this building?
It’s at O’Hare airport, and it’s one of a handful of addresses* the city’s buildings departments uses to denote permits issued to work at O’Hare. Since 2006 to Saturday, December 12, 2015, there’ve been 2,403 building permits issued here. The permits’ work descriptions indicate that a lot of the work occurs elsewhere on the airport grounds.
13 buildings have had more than 400 permits issued since 2006 to yesterday.
|11601 W Touhy Ave||O’Hare||
|222 W Merchandise Mart Plz||Near North Side||
|141 W Jackson Blvd||Loop||
|233 S Wacker Dr||Loop||
|2301 S Lake Shore Dr||Near South Side||
|30 S Wacker Dr||Loop||
|5700 S Cicero Ave||Garfield Ridge||
|500 W Madison St||Near West Side||
|227 W Monroe St||Loop||
|55 E Monroe St||Loop||
|875 N Michigan Ave||Near North Side||
|151 E Wacker Dr||Loop||
|350 N Orleans St||Near North Side||
A pattern emerges: 10 of these 13 buildings are in the Central Business District and the other three are O’Hare airport, McCormick Place (2301 S Lake Shore Drive), and Midway airport (5700 S Cicero Ave).
The first location that’s outside the Central Business District and not one of the city’s airport or its convention center is at 1060 W Addison St – better known as Wrigley Field – in the Lake View community area with 321 building permits issued. It ranks #30. If you keep running down the list, the next most frequently issued location is 7601 S Cicero Ave – that’s the Ford City Mall and I think the city’s only sprawl-style indoor mall. It ranks #39 because it pulls monthly electric maintenance permits.
The Merchandise Mart’s position at #2 is notable because the majority of its permits are for small amounts of work: there is a lot of electrical rewiring done because of the frequent shows and exhibitions in the interior design materials “mall”.
The Mart sees other activity, though, including multi-million renovations for technology companies like Motorola Mobility and Braintree. The Mart also received a permit this year for a new $3 million staircase construction, part of its building-wide renovation project.
If you want to know more about building trends in Chicago, send me a message through the Chicago Cityscape website and I can put together a custom report for you.
* Other addresses I’ve noticed are:
- 10000 N Bessie Coleman Dr
- 10000 W Ohare St
- 11600 W Touhy Ave
- 11555 W Touhy Ave
Of these only the two Touhy Ave addresses are logical: O’Hare Street isn’t a real road, and 10000 N Bessie Coleman Dr is much further north than the northernmost point in Chicago.