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Life Span: 1873-1908
Location: La Salle street, Between Madison and Washington Streets
Chicago Tribune, October 13, 1872
Gallup & Hitchcock’s Building, corner of LaSalle and Madison streets, is up to the fourth story, and looks exceedingly well. It will be occupied next month. The Empire Building, adjoining it, is up three stories. The Oriental Building is also up and occupied to the third story. The London and Liverpool and Globe Insurance Company are situated here. The Open Board of Trade Building is now in charge of the charge of the carpenters, painters and glaziers. It is rapidly approaching completion.
Eastern capital is seeking to build a tall neighbor for the Stock Exchange building on La Salle street. The neighbor is to stand just across the alley to the south, and extend through to Madison street, if it is to be built. That will include the sites of the present Oriental, Empire, and La Salle blocks, which are all old buildings erected shortly after the great fire. The Easterners who are opening negotiations for this project are convinced of the permanent value of La Salle street property, and they desire to put up a modern office building that will meet the demands of banking, insurance, real estate, and brokerage businesses that are centering in that street.
Owen F. Aldis, who is now in the East, represents a portion of the capital involved, and another firm of real estate brokers on Dearborn street represents others. It is said that the prospective investors are willing to pay $500,000 for the La Salle block, but it is not known whether they would take any one of the properties without the others. The Walker estate, which owns the Oriental block, has not had the property on the market, as the La Salle block has been, but a lease of the ground under it for a term of ninety-nine or one hundred and ninety-nine years has been dismissed by the parties on both sides. The Empire block is wedged in between the others, and is the worst of the lot in point of antiquated arrangements. It belongs to Dr. Jareb Bassett, who is willing to sell if a buyer will meet his terms.
The Empire block occupies 49×81 feet at Nos. 128 and 130. The tax commission valued the ground at $308,700 and the building at $32,900. That is a total of $341,600, which is probably more than it would bring upon a present market basis.
The Oriental block is said to have been the first building of any consequence that was finished after the fire. It is something of a landmark for its having been the headquarters for fraternal organizations, and the Cook County Democracy is now housed there. It is owned by Isabel C. Walker of Kenwood and other heirs of the Walker estate. The ground was valued by the tax commission at $554,750. It covers Nos. 10 to 124 La Salle street 76×81 and 40½x50 feet. The building was valued at $60,820. The total of these figures is $655,570.
The La Salle block, on the corner at Madison street, was remodeled about eight years ago and put into fairly good shape for modern usage, but even at that it is not large enough to make the returns that ought ti be made on the money invested in it, according to its market valuation. The grounds contain 52½x81 feet, and were valued at $527,000 by the tax commission. The building was figured in at $95,620, which makes the total $622,620. The property is owned by Mrs. Della S. Gallup and other heirs of the Gallup estate. A purchase of all three of the properties and the erection of anew building like the Stock Exchange building would represent an investment in the neighborhood of $2,000,000.1