Exterior art installation brings foot traffic to tenant property

GNP proposed and facilitated commissioned mural below the Mag Mile

Managing a branded building on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile requires special attention to public-facing areas—including below the Michigan Ave. street level. So, when the Magnificent Mile Association approached GNP Realty to participate in “Undercurrent,” a mural installation partially funded through the City of Chicago’s Central City Recovery Program, we were excited to take the opportunity to the building owner, the National Association of REALTORS®.

As part of the annual budget prepared for building owners, we include the cost of membership in the Magnificent Mile Association, along with funds to participate in special events such as the annual Festival of Lights and the recent Wings of Mexico in the Plaza of the Americas, adjacent to the REALTOR® Building. The building owners value the prestige of their Mag Mile address and recognize the benefits of association membership and involvement.

For the Undercurrent project, we proposed the south-facing exterior wall of the famous Billy Goat Tavern, whose entrance is on the corner of Hubbard and Lower Michigan. A donation helped cover the cost of the mural installation and allowed us to choose from a short list of local artists. The artists were prompted with the question as they began creating their artwork, “If you were to create an exciting ‘mirror’ image of what was above below, how might that look?”

“I was immediately attracted to the vibrant colors of Andy Bellomo,” said Renata Stec, CPM®, who serves as property manager for the REALTOR® Building, which houses the Billy Goat. “One of the project’s goals was to brighten the spaces below ground, which Andy’s work does nicely,” said Stec. “In addition to the building tenants and Billy Goat Tavern customers enjoying the new visual excitement the mural brings to the space, hundreds of Chicago commuters who wait for the #120 Ogilvie/Streeterville Express bus also see it.”

Building ownership is pleased with the artist’s work, which is now listed on the City of Chicago’s Mural Registry map—bringing additional foot traffic to its subterranean location—a win-win for building owners, the Billy Goat tenant and the Magnificent Mile Association. GNP Realty was proud to facilitate this project.