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The earliest Pedway tunnels were connections between the Red Line and Blue Line CTA train stations. They connected at two places, a few blocks south at Jackson Street and here at Washington Street. The entertainment and business complex now known as Block 37 was not here at the time, but this property had a rich and fabled history.
Surveyor James Thompson created Chicago’s first plat of 58 lots in downtown Chicago in 1830, when Chicago’s population was less than 100 people. Block 37 was very well-situated, bounded by Randolph and Washington to the north and south, and State and Dearborn to the east and west. In its heyday, the dozen or so buildings on Block 37 were a vibrant blend of retail, entertainment and business enterprises by day but deserted at night. By the 1970s, the retail heart of Chicago had moved to North Michigan and in 1979 Block 37 was designated a blighted area along with several other downtown blocks.
A few years later, the city paid $40 million for the property. Following years of delay and legal challenges, the entire block was razed and title passed to developers for $12.5 million. Over a decade of delay ensued, with the block seeing temporary use as the original home of Maggie Daley’s After School Matters art programs and a skating rink in the winter. Several redevelopment plans on the site fell through, with the block finally going to Bank of America for $100 million in 2011 and then sold the following year to the current owners, CIM Group, for an undisclosed amount.
Block 37 is a vibrant five-level shopping, dining and entertainment destination featuring an energetic Pedway, located in the heart of the Chicago Loop’s Theater District, http://blockthirtyseven.com/about/. Latinicity Food Hall and Lounge located on the third floor brings Latin-inspired dining with over 8 food stations, a coffee café, and a full bar. AMC Theatres opened a deluxe 11-screen dine-in theatre complex on the fourth level, featuring leather recliners and MacGuffins Bar and Grill. Also new on the fourth floor is First Ascent Climbing and Fitness, where you can experience thrilling climbing and bouldering. Premier shopping at Block 37 features Sephora, Zara, Anthropologie, Banana Republic Factory Store, and much more! And finally, The Dearborn American – Urban American Tavern is the perfect place for a rustic fine dining experience.
Block 37’s 17-story office tower designed by Perkins & Will and completed in 2008, houses the WBBM Channel 2 studio where you can watch live broadcasts from street-level plate glass windows on State Street. The Marquee at Block 37, a 38-story luxury high-rise rental building designed by Solomon Cordwell and Buenz, opened in 2016.
Cover photo credit: blockthirtyseven via Instagram.