13-Oct-10 As construction resumes on the new Museum of Broadcast Communications, crews are working to extensively renovate Kinzie Street and the south sidewalk leading to State Street. The northeast corner of the Marina City block has been a hazard to pedestrians for many years. Now, four years after construction was halted due to a hold-up with funding, the sidewalk and street on the north side of the museum building is getting the full attention of Pepper Construction Company.
The immediate goal is filling in this north sidewalk vault, explains foreman Tony Swistek, who also worked on construction of nearby 330 North Wabash and 353 North Clark. He says it will be a smoother transition from the sidewalk down to the street. All those stairs come out, the goofy stairs that are here in the corner.
While the big push is to connect a water main, dig for sewer pipes, and repair the sidewalk, curbs, and street, work has started inside the building.
Everybody is mobilizing, says Swistek, listing chores such as building staircases, a boiler room on the fourth floor, and electrical wiring.
Once Kinzie Street is repaired, museum president Bruce DuMont says new sidewalks and planters on State Street will follow. The renovation of those areas should be finished by Thanksgiving, weather and [Chicago Department of Transportation] permitting.
The more basic interior work that is needed, such as installing plumbing and ducts, should be completed by April 30, 2011, DuMont estimates, per the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity grant.
Governor Pat Quinn announced the $6 million grant in June. The Illinois General Assembly approved the appropriation in October 2009 and it was signed into law the next month. The museum then had to wait seven months for the money but by then, they had been waiting five years for funding Dumont says was promised by then-Governor Rod Blagojevich.
(Above) View from a garden terrace on the fourth floor that will overlook State Street. (Click on image to view larger version.)
While the museum will occupy some space it has already started moving its broadcast media collection, such as tapes of old radio and television shows, into an office on the third floor much of the buildings 62,000 square feet will be leased.
15,000 square feet will house exhibits devoted to television and radio history. 12,000 square feet will be used for the museums public programs, screenings, and lectures. There will be retail space on the ground floor facing Kinzie Street and on the fourth floor, a special events venue with an outdoor garden terrace overlooking State Street.
DuMont said in June it would take ten to 12 months to complete the $14 million project.
VIPs to tour site in November
Meanwhile, a National Radio Hall of Fame induction dinner on November 6, sponsored by the Museum of Broadcast Communications, will attract stars galore to River North, according to museum president Bruce Dumont. Guests who will stay at Amalfi Hotel and inspect the new museum site across the street include musicians Billy Corgan and Reba McEntire and radio broadcasters Bob Edwards and Larry King.
Web site: The Museum of Broadcast Communications
(Above) Interior view of second floor. (Click on images to view larger versions.)
View from third floor, looking toward northeast corner of building.
Third-floor entrance to MBC offices.
Foreman Bob Tique (left) and iron worker Jose Estraday (right) study plans on third floor.
A glimpse of the buildings previous life. A sign, in the middle of a south wall, points to the Mazda showroom.
Renderings of the museum building in a construction office on the ground floor.