Date built: 1921-1924
Developer: Zeller Corporation
Completion date: August 2014
Total project cost: $73.9 million
Historic tax credits: $13.2 million, Federal
After ninety years of ownership by the Wrigley Company, the building was acquired by a consortium of investors that included Groupon Inc., BDT Capital Partners, and Zeller Realty Group who set out to rehabilitate the structure for continued commercial office and retail use.
The project took advantage of two important forms of tax credits/tax abatements – the federal historic tax credit and the Class L Property Tax Incentive, which is available to designated Chicago Landmarks. The Chicago program is unique in that it ties the landmarking of the building to a tax assessment level reduced over a twelve-year period. This tool was integral in the decision to landmark the building and is one of the reasons Chicago has had such success in landmarking some of the country’s most important architectural icons.
Completed just after the opening of the Michigan Avenue Bridge, the Wrigley Building—the tallest structure in the city at the time—served as a magnet for business owners and sparked the beginning of a wave of commercial development along North Michigan Avenue. Architects Graham, Anderson, Probst & White modeled the Beaux-Arts skyscraper on the 400-foot tower on the Giralda tower of the 15th century Cathedral of Seville, Spain. The building’s design reflects the enormous influence of the City Beautiful movement as popularized by Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, which combined traditional classical architectural elements with contemporary commercial construction. For ninety years, it served as the headquarters for the Wrigley Company, the world’s largest producer of chewing gum products.