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South Loop Highrises/Businesses Prepare for Chicago Nato Summit

by Chicago Agent

Several high-rise buildings in Chicago's South Loop are preparing for the NATO Summit.

Local and national security measures have for many defined the 2012 NATO Summit at McCormick Place, and some of them are impacting the local real estate market in Chicago.

Craig Hogan, the director of Coldwell Banker’s Previews luxury practice group in Chicago, has witnessed the NATO security measures both at home and at the office.

The precautions at Hogan’s office, which is Coldwell Banker’s Gold Coast office at Huron and Michigan Avenue, have been quite impressive, he explained. Because the office is located near five international consulates (the office is actually one floor below the German consulate), the brokerage has encountered not only army presence, but will be on lockdown starting tomorrow.

Additionally, all agents attended a seminar explaining the security measures, took part in a special evacuation fronted by the Chicago Fire Department and were given a special security code word that, when uttered over the building’s intercom system, indicates a building breach.

As far as the professional impact of the security measures, Hogan said the summit has been more an inconvenience than a debilitation, and much of its effect has been based on the individual agent’s work style.

“Some of our agents are office agents,” Hogan said. “They prefer the office environment … but today, most agents are very mobile.”

Complaints, he continued, have been limited to that smaller group of agents, the type who start their days in the office, meet clients in the office and conduct their overall business there; the majority of agents, with their iPads and other tech-gear, have largely been unaffected.

Hogan did mention, though, that some of Coldwell Banker’s listings have been momentarily affected by the summit. He specifically cited the Museum Park developments at 1211 and 1201 S. Prairie, which have been totally closed down through Tuesday and cannot accomodate showings or open houses.

Even Hogan’s own residence, which is located in the South Loop off Indiana, has been impacted. The building is all but bordering the steel/cement barricades the city has placed around the McCormick premises.

“You can’t help but notice all the barricades,” Hogan said. “They’re eight, nine, 10 feet tall.”

In addition, Hogan said his property is located on the first floor of the building, and he has easy viewing of a neighboring parking lot that has been sealed off by security.

Aside from Hogan’s building, other highrises are also taking measures of their own in anticipation of the event.

As reported by ABC 7 News, a number of buildings along Michigan Avenue in the South Loop have covered their windows with plywood, ruffling the feathers of the NATO host committee members, who want the city to project a welcoming, amicable image.

Abbie Torgeson, South Loop resident, said in ABC’s piece that the measures seem too intense.

“I think it’s a little extreme,” she said. “I really don’t think that anyone down here in the South Loop expected any businesses to do anything like this.”

Steven Trzaskowski, of Buzy Bee Board Up, disagrees.

“I think it’s more about protection and the safety of residents in a building like this,” he said.

In addition to the plywood, ABC mentioned a building at Michigan and 21st that is installing bullet proof glass – at nearly $400 per window pane – in anticipation of the summit, and another high-rise, at 14th and Michigan, that covered its all-glass canopy with bubble wrap.

“Just in case something fell on it or was thrown on top of it, we didn’t want glass shattering on anyone,” said Judy Pierson, the property manager of 1400 Museum Park.

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