The Vault: Baird & Warner’s Role As a Live-Work-Play Pioneer

Baird & Warner was a pioneer in understanding people’s desire to live in the Loop with proximity to their work and public transportation. In fact, the company played a key role in the development of 200 N. Dearborn St., one of the first apartment towers built in the Loop.

Baird & Warner partnered with developer Elzie L. Higginbottom to build the 46-story, 310- unit apartment tower on the northwest corner of Dearborn and Lake. Baird & Warner, Higginbottom, and Stein & Co. acquired most of “block 17” between Wacker Drive and Dearborn, and Lake and Clark streets for $30 million in 1985.

The building opened in 1988 and offered 310 apartments, as well as 1980s-era luxury amenities like a 24-hour doorman, private terraces, indoor pool, exercise room, and indoor parking. Residents also had access to skywalks and pedways connecting them to major commercial buildings, such as the newly opened world headquarters of Leo Burnett (35 W. Wacker Dr.). And they simply had to go to the lower level of the building to access Chicago’s unique pedway system, which today covers more than 40 downtown blocks and 48 entrances/exits to help stay warm during Chicago’s winters.

Another amenity 200 N. Dearborn offered was proximity to CTA trains, with quick transit to O’Hare International Airport or anywhere around the city.

In 2007, the building was converted to condominiums —- and stands today as one of downtown’s original live-work-play communities.

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