Posts Tagged ‘The Alter Group’

The Alter Group’s One11 West Illinois Street Receives Praise from the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

The Alter Group’s One11 West Illinois Street, its 10-story, 227,604 SF Class-A-to-own office building in downtown Chicago’s dynamic River North neighborhood recently received a rave review and from the Chicago Tribune’s Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic Blair Kamin. Kamin praised architect Martin F. Wolf, Senior Principal with Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates, who “was challenged with a particularly daunting hurdle:  a pair of ungainly, three-story buildings whose owners didn’t want to sell.  The two holdouts created a seemingly unusable panhandle at the western end of Alter’s otherwise rectangular plot.  But Wolf and his colleagues…took the leftover space and transformed it into something dramatic:  a prow-like edge that resembles the front end of a ship ready to steam across LaSalle.”

According to Kamin, “Instead of cramming the problem panhandle with a stubby rectangle of office space, Wolf sliced the building on a diagonal and opened a triangular outdoor plaza in the bargain.  But the slicing yielded that eye-catching glass prow.  It’s displayed, like a jewel within a setting, inside an exposed steel framework that extends beyond the building proper.”

Kamin continued:  “Its highly articulated corner captures the eye of the passerby with its play of light and shadow, solid and void, transparency and reflectivity.  Look closely, and you can see a moiré effect on the mesh.  Step inside the recess between the prow and the mesh, and you are treated to an upward look at the trapezoid-shaped metal grates that form platforms for lights that shine on the prow at night.”

It is heartening to see architecture on a mid-rise office building recognized.  One11 West Illinois Street’s anchor is the Erikson Institute, one of the nation’s leading graduate schools dedicated to the education of child-development professionals, which occupies approximately 75,000 SF.

Industry Mourns Passing of Bill Alter

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Bill Alter, founder of The Alter Group, passed away peacefully Friday, August 8, in his Winnetka, IL, home of complications from Alzheimer’s at age 78.  Named one of the most influential people of the 20th century by National Real Estate Investor magazine, Alter presided over the development of more than $1 billion of space over a half century.

Alter’s Realty Company of America began building homes for post-war, first-time buyers.  In 1959, Alter developed the first residential community for middle-income minority buyers, Kingston Green in Markham, IL.  With Olympian Jesse Owens as his national spokesman, Alter brought the dream of home ownership to hundreds of families.

Dubbed the “sky broker”, Alter was known throughout his native Chicago for using a twin-engine plane to scout land sites.  His son, Michael, who succeeded his father as president in 1995, said “his was a uniquely American story.”

Over the decades, The Alter Group developed millions of square feet of speculative office, industrial, research-and-development, and healthcare space in a variety of business parks.  A recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Urban Land Institute, Bill helped create the now widely copied concept of the professional planned industrial park.

Bill is survived by his wife, Evelyn.  He was the father of Michael, Harvey, Jennie, Jonathan, and the late Rhonda Alter.  Additionally, he had two step-children, Nicky Bliwas and Tony Winski, as well as 13 grandchildren.