WEST LOOP — A fire sighted by nearby office workers at the Old Main Post Office Downtown is "nothing to be alarmed about," Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said Tuesday morning.
The long-vacant building at 433 W. Van Buren St. caught fire on the roof and top floor, and was "under control" as of 9:10 a.m. Tuesday, according to a tweet from the fire department's Twitter account. Fire trucks were sighted at the scene.
The 2.7 million-square-foot structure, empty for 18 years., straddles the Eisenhower Expressway and has been decribed as the most prominent empty space Downtown. It was built in 1921.
Twitter users who work and live nearby posted photos of the scene early Tuesday.
Redevelopment plans for the landmark building have been in the works for years.
Most recently, Joseph Antunovich of Antunovich Associates and property owner Bill Davies secured preliminary approval from City Council to build a three-tower mixed-use building around the Post Office, a $1.5 billion proposal that would leave the vintage building's atrium intact.
Buildout has been slow since the initial green light from the city, and the Fire Department reports that no one was in the building at the time of the fire.
In July, Dennis McClendon, vice president for planning and development at South Loop Neighbors, said that despite the City Council green light, he's no more optimistic about the project than he was in April, predicting that there's "virtually no chance that the whole project will be built" as proposed.
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