Friends of Downtown
2009 Awards


Celebrating Downtown Chicago

Nearly 100 people joined Friends of Downtown at our Best of Downtown 2011 Awards event on April 4, 2012 at the Haymarket Pub & Brewery. Each year, Friends of Downtown’s annual awards honor all the various things that make downtown Chicago one of the world’s most unique places.

We were delighted to recognize Geoffrey Baer, of WTTW-TV, with the Mary Ward Wolkonsky Lifetime Achievement Award (see his comments below). This year we also honored terrific projects such as the Poetry Foundation Building, the Monroe Building, and the National Hellenic Museum.

Chicago Commissioner of Transportation Gabe Klein was present to accept awards for two recent projects – the Red Line Grand Station renovation and protected bike lanes. We welcomed new businesses to downtown Chicago, including Mariano’s, Topshop, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.

Best Historic Renovation | The Monroe Building
Commitment to Downtown | Harlan J. Berk, Ltd
Best new Cultural Institution | National Hellenic Museum
Best New Building | The Poetry Foundation Building
Best Special Event | Open Streets Chicago
Best New Transportation Initiative | Protected Bike Lanes
Best Public Amenity Renovation | CTA Grand Red Line Station
Mary Ward Wolkonsky Lifetime Achievement Award | Geoffrey Baer
Welcome to Downtown | Mariano's Fresh Market
Welcome to Downtown | Topshop
Welcome to Downtown | Cantina Laredo
Welcome to Downtown | Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust

Mary Ward Wolkonsky Award 2011 | Geoffrey Baer

Photos from the event

previous winners


Best Open Space | Mary Bartelme Park
Best Ephemera | Pop Up Art
Best New Residential Building | The Legacy at Millennium Park
Best Celebration | Stanley Cup Victory Parade
Best Showcasing of Downtown to Filmgoers Worldwide | Chicago Film Office
Best Conversion | JW Marriott Hotel
Coolest Thing | Chicago River Canoe Rentals
Best Cultural Special Event | Maestro Multi Welcome Celebration
Best Cultural Exhibition | Louis Sullivan's Idea
Best Adaptive Use of An Historic Building | Richard M. and Maggie C. Daley Building
Best Commitment to Chicago | Groupon
Best New Building | Columbia College Chicago Media Production Center
Mary Ward Wolkonsky Lifetime Achievement Award |Mayor Richard M. Daley
Welcome to Downtown | Haymarket Pub and Brewery
Welcome to Downtown | Henri
Welcome to Downtown | Elysian Hotel and Private Residences
Welcome to Downtown | Chicago B-Cycle Sharing - Bike and Roll Chicago

Photos of the event


Best New Building | Trump International Hotel & Tower
Best Ripple Effect | Aqua
Best Restoration | Sullivan Center Ironwork
Best Commemoration | Burnham Plan Centennial
Quality of Life | CTA Bus Tracker
Best New Office Building | 300 N LaSalle
Best New Cultural Space | Art Institute - Modern Wing
Best New Open Space | The Riverwalk Extension
Best Celebration | The Oprah Winfrey Show's 24th Season Premiere on Michigan Avenue
Coolest Thing | Chicago Model City
Coolest Thing | ROOF at theWit Hotel
Coolest Thing | The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago
Welcome to Downtown | Chicago French Market
Welcome to Downtown | Hotel Felix
Welcome to Downtown | Kerasotes ICON Movie Theater
Welcome to Downtown | MillerCoors Headquarters
Welcome to Downtown | Muchin College / Noble Charter School


Best New Building | 600 North Fairbanks
Best Renovation | Palmer House
Best Restoration | The Blackstone Hotel
Best Adaptive Reuse | Metropolitan Tower
Breath of Fresh Air | Amli900
Best Window Display | Joffrey Tower
Best New Cultural Institution | Richard Driehaus Museum
Lights Off Award | Earth Hour Chicago 2008
Healthy Choice Award | Millennium Park Free Summer Fitness
Best New Open Space | Parkview
Best Draw | Wait, Wait . . . Don't Tell Me!
Best Celebration | Election Night in Grant Park
Coolest Thing | Sustainability Center
Best Ongoing Celebration | Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
Mary Ward Wolkonsky Award (for lifetime achievement) | Norm Bobins


Best New Residential Building | Kingsbury Plaza
Best Renovation | Majestic Building/LaSalle Bank Theatre
Best Restoration | Chicago Board of Trade Building
Best Adaptive Reuse | 50 East Roosevelt Road
Let There Be Light | Chicago's Decorative Skyline
Best Ephemera | Festival of Maps Chicago
Trendsetter | Access Living
Best Celebration | Looptopia
Coolest Thing | Marquette Building Exhibit
Still Busy After All These Years | Central Camera
Welcome to Downtown
- Pastoral
- United Airlines
- Zipcar
Mary Ward Wolkonsky Award (for lifetime achievement) | Al Friedman


Best New Building | 111 S. Wacker
Best Renovation | Metra Millenium Station
Best Restoration | Manhattan Building
Best Plan | Columbia College Master Plan
Best New Open Space | Park at Lakeshore East
Best Celebration | White Sox Parade and Rally
Crowning Glory| Marquette Building cornice restoration
Taking Care of Business
- Stanley McCormick Court at the Art Institute of Chicago
- World’s Largest Block Party (St. Patrick’s Church)
Welcome to Downtown
- Books in th City
- Canady L Chocolatier
- Carnivale
- Creality
- Drury Lane Theater
- Lollapalooza
Mary Ward Wolkonsky Award (for lifetime achievement) | Ed Lawrence


Best New Building | 30 West Oak
Best Renovation | Majestic Building/LaSalle Bank Theatre
Best Restoration | Tree Studios
Best Adaptive Reuse | Chicago & North Western Railway Powerhouse
Best New Open Space | Erie Park
Best New Public Art | 'Agora'
Coolest Thing | WLS-TV State Street Studio
Best Continued Use | Italian Village
Welcome to Downtown
- McCorick Tribune Freedom Museum
- McCormick Tribune Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum
- Garmin
Mary Ward Wolkonsky Award (for lifetime achievement) | Lewis Manilow


Best New Building | 111 South Wacker
Best Renovation | Metra Millennium Station
Best Restoration Project | Manhattan Building
Best Plan | Columbia College Master Plan
Best New Open Space | Park at Lakeshore East
Art Meets Life street - level galleries at
- Loyola University
- Columbia College
- Robert Morris College
Best Celebration | White Sox Victory Parade and Rally
Taking Care of Business
- Stanley McCormick Court, the Art Institute of Chicago
- World’s Largest Block Party
Crowning Glory | Marquette Building cornice restoration
Welcome to Downtown
- Books in the City
- Canady Le Chocolatier
- Carnivale
- Cereality
- Drury Lane Theater
- Lollapalooza
Mary Ward Wolkonsky Award (for lifetime achievement) | Ed Lawrence


Best New Commercial Building | Hyatt Center
Best New Residential Building | Contemporaine
Best New Institutional Building | Chinese American Service League Kam L. Liu Building
Best Restoration Project | Clarke House
Best Planning Project | Chicago's New Zoning Ordinance
Best New Open Space | Millennium Park
Coolest Thing | Columbia College building murals
Visionary Award | Unbuilt Chicago
Best Ephemera | Great Chicago Fire Sale
Taking Care of Business | Monadnock Building
Strange Bedfellows | University Center of Chicago
Welcome to Downtown
- Chicago Antiques Market
- Design Within Reach
- Morrow's Candy Store
- Orange
Mary Ward Wolkonsky Award (for lifetime achievement) | John Vinci


Best New Building | Skybridge at One North Halsted
Best Restoration Project | Carbide and Carbon Building
Best Planning Project | Chicago Central Area Plan
Best Adaptive Reuse | Lookingglass Theatre at the Chicago Waterworks
Best New Cultural Institution | The Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance
Best New Open Space | North Burnham Park
Best Continued Use | Chicago Farmers Market Program
Taking Care of Business | Richard Kinczyk
Best Ephemera | Marshall Fields Vertical Fashion Show
Welcome to Downtown
- Apple Store
- Ben & Jerry's PartnerShop with Chicago Children’s Choir
- Congress for the New Urbanism
- Park Grill
- H&M
- Nordstrom Rack
Fond Farewell
- Mohsen Javadi
- Ed Kus
- Phil Levin
- Robert Megquier
- Tom Pullakat
- Dan Purciarello
- Kathleen Ransford
- Bruce Worthington
Mary Ward Wolkonsky Award (for lifetime achievement) | Cal Audrain


Best New Building | Sofitel Chicago Water Tower
Best Restoration Project | Mentor Building
Best Planning Project | Grant Park Framework Plan
Best Adaptive Reuse | Domain / 600 West
Best Continued Use | Prairie Avenue Bookshop
Best Aroma | Garrett Popcorn Shops
Making a Grand Entrance | Metra Entry Portal
Best Renovation | W Hotel Lakeshore
Chicago Treasure Hunt | Inland Steel Building
Taking Care of Business | Plaza at Aon Center
Best Ephemera | 'Earth From Above'
Welcome to Downtown
- Bob Chinn's Crab House
- Hackney's Printers Row
- Millennium Park
- The Noble Fool
- Opera
- Oysy
Mary Ward Wolkonsky Award (for lifetime achievement) | Jack Hartray


Best New Development | Jewel/Osco 3345 (Roosevelt/Wabash)
Best Renovation | Allerton Building, Art Institute of Chicago
Best Restoration | Fisher Building
Best Ephemera | Urban Dream Capsule
Best Program | Puppetropolis
Taking Care of Business | Michigan Avenue median landscaping
Coolest Thing | McCormick Tribune Plaza
Green Downtown | City Hall rooftop garden
Chicago Connection | Riverwalk Gateway
Secure Downtown | Daley Plaza barricades
Welcome to Downtown
- Boeing Co.
- Fox & Obel
- Petterino's
- Sears on State
Mary Ward Wolkonsky Award (for lifetime achievement) | Ferd Kramer


Best New Development | Block 36 SAIC residence
Best New Building | Park Tower
Best Open Space | Coliseum Park
Best Renovation | 360 North Michigan
Best Restoration | Wheeler Mansion
Best Ephemera | Chicago Outdoor Film Festival
Best Continued Use | Terra Museum
Taking Care of Business | Chicago's Movable Bridges
Coolest Thing | Sue the T-Rex
Digital Downtown | Mary Richardson Lowry
Adaptive Reuse | J. Ira & Nicki Harris Family Hostel
Chicago Connection | Blue Cross/Blue Shield to Millennium Park
SPF Award | Dearborn Plaza brise-soleils
Welcome to Downtown
- Cosi Cafe
- Broadway in Chicago
- Borders on State
- Smith Museum of Stained Glass
- Zoom Kitchen
Mary Ward Wolkonsky Award (for lifetime achievement) | Barbara Lynne


Best New Development | Northwestern Hospital Complex
Best Open Space | Ping Tom Memorial Park
Best Plan | A Vision for State Street, Wabash Avenue, and Michigan Avenue
Best Renovation | Old Saint Patrick's Church
Best Restoration | Reliance Building/Hotel Burnham
Best Ephemera | 360 N. Michigan Sidewalk Barricade
Best Continued Use | Allerton Crowne Plaza Hotel
Best Second Act | Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Chicago Traditions | Chicago Jazz Festival
Taking Care of Business | Bank One Plaza
Special Recognition | Bruce Abrams, in memory
Coolest Thing | Cows on Parade
Welcome to Downtown | Chicago Firehouse Restaurant
Mary Ward Wolkonsky Award | Edward K. Uhlir

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