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W.BEZ: Johnson Publishing Building, Chicago
Lakeidra Chavis, forwarded by Tamara Anson-Cartwright | November 20, 2017

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The Fading Extravagance Of The Johnson Publishing Building

From Issue No. 263 | November 20, 2017

Johnson Publishing building

For more than 40 years, the Johnson Publishing building was home to Ebony and Jetmagazines, important cultural institutions that chronicled black success in America.

The 11-story building now sits vacant on Michigan Avenue in the South Loop after Columbia College bought it in 2010. The college put the historic building back on the market last year and hopes to sell the building this month.

The Chicago City Council is expected to vote on whether to designate the building a landmark by the end of the year, but theres a catch. The move would only preserve the buildings exterior, meaning that the few remaining interior features  some of which are extravagant even by todays standards  could disappear. A spokesman for the citys landmarks commission said interior-design elements usually arent protected because its difficult to monitor changes to things like carpets or wallpaper.

The prospective owner is 3L Real Estate, a development company that repurposes historic and vintage buildings. Joseph Slezak, the companys founder and CEO, said he expects to transform the space into a mix of retail and apartment units by the end of 2019, and there are plans to include an homage to the buildings history.

Editors Notes: Tamara suggests that some of the interiors are worthy of conservation in Smithsonian, ala Julia Child's kitchen. They are pretty spectacular, and very well preserved.
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