The Montgomery Ward “Tower Building” was completed in 1898. Richard E. Schmidt was the Architect and Hugh Garden was the designer. The original building combined Chicago School-style design with decorative Italian renaissance accents. The terra cotta ornamentation was of indigenous plants, birds, and fish. The original 12-story building dominated Michigan Avenue with the tower portion modeled after the campanile at Piazza San Marco. The pyramid roof was tiled in gold terra cotta panels. At the top of the building stood a 22.5 foot weather vane of Guilded Bronze woman designed by Scottish –American artist John Massey Rhind, entitled “Progress Lighting the Way for Commerce“, which was illuminated with four beacon lights. At 394 feet, Montgomery WarTower offered a public observation deck and stood as the tallest building in Chicago until 1922.
In 1912, Montgomery Ward moved his corporate offices and warehouse, selling the building to a syndicate headed by Jarvis Hunt, Architect. The building was remodeled, converting the first floor to retail and the upper floors into offices. The building was renamed, Tower Building. Tower Building was again sold in 1916, and the new owners sevenyears later (1923) commissioned the architectural firm of Holabird & Roche to add a 4-story addition to the 12-story building. The addition made the tower look considerably lower as the new stories raised the shoulders around the original tower.
In 1947, the French perfume company Lucien Lelong took ownership. In April of that year the 125-foot pyramid roof was deemed structurally unsafe along with the Progress Statue, and taken down. The building was renamed 6 N. Michigan Avenue Building. In 1955, the building was remodeled by Loebl, Schlossman,and Bennett, and continued as office/retail space.
Thanks to Aaron Montgomery Ward’s battle to keep Grant Park forever open, clear, and free of any buildings, and Mayor Richard M. Daley’s 1997 vision of turning the unsightly Illinois Central train tracks and parking lot into a public park, developers began to envision the “East Loop” as a residential destination. Millennium Park construction was underway when Global Real Estate Investors, LLC in 1999 purchased the office building at 6 N. Michigan Avenue and began theprocess of converting to luxury residences. In 2002, Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River to Congress was given Landmark protection so the duplication of 6 North ceased making it truly unique. A fortunate turn of events caused by the downturn transferred ownership to FBOP Corporation in 2006. FBOP was known in the banking industry for revitalizing struggling banks. In 6 N. Michigan they saw an opportunity to bring an architecturally significant building back to prominence. All aspects of interior design were addressed and improved.In 2008, FBOP successfully completed and was awarded Landmark Preservation Project status(which the majority of developers will never take on due to the detail, focus, costs and time involved)for6 N. Michigan. The 119 exceptional homes are truly a rarity in the city of Chicago that Owners cheris