RAILROAD DAZE - Franklin Park



JUNE  14  2014

Cool METRA ticket



MAY  10  2014




A really sad show for railroad buffs:  Only Belt Ry of Chicago / NS / METRA / AMTRAk

were present + a few private cars

A real sad looking Iowa Pacific 515 (My Birthday Unit!)

Evelyn Henry

Built in 1954 for the Union Pacific - sleeping car features 6 double bedrooms with lower and upper beds.

A shower and bathroom is located between each pair of bedrooms.

A new feature is the master suite “Grand Canyon” with queen size bed, private bathroom, TV/VCR,

and a spacious closet.






NS 5337 GP38-2 Operation Lifesaver Unit (from my iPhone)



Bad pix of BRC210 (Gotta remember to use iPhone

for dark places)

Warren R. Henry

Built in 1955 for the Union Pacific Railroad, the dome car features panoramic viewing upstairs, a formal dining room or boardroom for meetings and a beautifully appointed lower level lounge with satellite TV, DVD, and CD player. A complete bar is located on the lower level and an open rear platform

Some goodies I received

METRA 413 departing CUS


Walking home past the Willis Tower with its walk-on ledges

(not as scary as Hancock 30+% tilt)

I should have stopped - Oh well next time)

August 27, 2014

Can a new broker fill Trump's long-vacant retail space?

Lettering recently was added to the Trump International Hotel & Tower. Photo by Zoe Galland
Lettering recently was added to the Trump International Hotel & Tower. Photo by Zoe Galland

Donald Trump's controversial decision to splash his name on his River North skyscraper drew lots of national media attention over the summer. Now the outspoken developer will test whether tenants took notice.

New York-based Trump Organization hired retail brokerage RKF to find office tenants to fill the lower two levels of the long-vacant four-level shopping area at the base of the Trump International Hotel & Tower at 401 N. Wabash Ave., said Donald Trump Jr., Mr. Trump's son and executive vice president of development and acquisitions at the firm.

The move taps the brakes on the elder Mr. Trump's declaration in June that he would stop trying to find any commercial tenants for the long-vacant shopping area, deciding instead to expand the hotel's lobby and build out conference rooms and meeting spaces in that part of the property.

That plan is still a possibility, said Donald Trump Jr. But the company wanted to test the market while it starts creating the conference areas and lobby on the upper levels.


Keeping the lower two floors available for tenants allows the Trump Organization to “maintain optionality,” he said. “To throw in another 100,000 square feet into the hotel — we don't want to have all our eggs in one basket.”

While the 92-story Trump building is just west of the Magnificent Mile shopping district, the property's retail spaces have remained empty for years, save for a salon. For many retail tenants, the property's design doesn't fit with their needs, and the space is difficult to reach.

“The challenge is, and always will be, very awkward floor plates. The ceiling heights aren't great and access is confusing at best,” said Leslie Karr, an executive managing director in the Chicago office of brokerage Newmark Grubb Knight Frank who's not involved in the property. She predicts office tenants likely will be the best option for the company.

The younger Trump said the firm will focus on trying to pull in a broad range of tenants, including firms that need offices, like trading companies or schools. The property has incredible views along the Chicago River, giving it a unique appeal to companies seeking offices, he said.


Anthony Campagni, managing director in the Chicago office of New York-based RKF, said the brokerage will position the lower two levels, which cover about 67,000 square feet, as a natural part of River North as opposed to an addition to North Michigan Avenue.

“Restaurants are certainly a possibility because of the success that other restaurants are seeing in River North,” he said, as are design showrooms. “What I don't think is going to work is soft goods and apparel. They continue to want a presence on (Michigan) Avenue.”

River North has emerged as one of the strongest real estate markets in the Chicago area. The office vacancy rate in the neighborhood was 10.8 percent in the second quarter, versus the overall downtown rate of 14.1 percent, while the retail vacancy rate for the city submarket that includes River North was 4.5 percent versus the regional rate of 10.1 percent, according to CBRE Inc.

Meanwhile, a range of new projects near the Trump building have gained traction, such as the conversion of the lower floors of the historic former IBM Building at 330 N. Wabash Ave. into the Langham Hotel.

The city is building out a new river walk across from the Trump skyscraper, and the plaza between the twin Wrigley Building towers has reopened after an extensive renovation, easing access to the Trump building from the Mag Mile.