CHICAGO
07/10/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Massive Old Post Office Headed For Auction

The bidding will start at $300,000.

That's the suggested minimum bid for the hulking 77-year-old building that was once Chicago's main post office. The postal service announced Tuesday it was putting the 3-million-square-foot building up for auction after a deal with a private developer fell through.

The building at 433 W. Van Buren spans the Eisenhower Expressway. Once the largest postal facility in America, the building has been vacant since 1995, when the postal service moved to its current location on Harrison Street.

"The Postal Service has tried traditional methods to sell this property," said Tom Samra, vice president of facilities, in a press release. "We are confident the innovation and transparency of an open auction will result in the sale of this building."

The Postal Service decided to auction the building after a deal to sell it to Walton Street Capital collapsed, Crain's Chicago Business reports.

According to Crain's, Walton Street planned to demolish part of the building and convert the remainder into 450,000 square feet of office space, 300 condominiums and a 236-room hotel. The firm had also secured $51 million in TIF money from the city.

Rick Levin & Associates, Inc., a Chicago-based real estate auction marketing firm, will conduct the open, public outcry auction. The suggested opening bid is $300,000, though the property will be sold to the highest bidder, no matter the price.