Magnificent Mile

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Magnificent Mile
Neighborhood
Magnificent Mile
Chicago's Magnificent Mile looking south
Chicago's Magnificent Mile looking south
Nickname(s): The Mag Mile
Streetmap
Streetmap
Coordinates: 41°53′43″N 87°37′28″W / 41.89535°N 87.62432°W / 41.89535; -87.62432Coordinates: 41°53′43″N 87°37′28″W / 41.89535°N 87.62432°W / 41.89535; -87.62432
Country United States
State Illinois
County Cook
City Chicago
Community areas
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)

The Magnificent Mile, sometimes referred to as The Mag Mile, is a prestigious section of Chicago's Michigan Avenue, running from the Chicago River to Oak Street in the Near North Side.[1] The district is located adjacent to downtown, and one block east of Rush Street, which is known for its nightlife. The Magnificent Mile serves as the main thoroughfare between Chicago's Loop business district and its Gold Coast.[2] It also serves as the western boundary of the Streeterville neighborhood.

Real estate developer Arthur Rubloff of Rubloff Company gave the nickname to one of the city's most prestigious residential and commercial thoroughfares in the 1940s.[1] Currently Chicago's largest shopping district, various mid-range and high-end shops line this section of the street and approximately 3,100,000 square feet (290,000 m2) is currently occupied by retail stores, restaurants, museums and hotels.[3]

Several of the tallest buildings in the United States, such as the John Hancock Center and the Trump International Hotel and Tower, lie in the district. Numerous landmarks are located along the Magnificent Mile, such as the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, the Chicago Water Tower, and the Allerton Hotel.

History[edit]

The view north from the foot of the Magnificent Mile in the Michigan–Wacker Historic District: the Beaux Arts Wrigley Building (left) and neo-Gothic Tribune Tower

After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, State Street (anchored by Marshall Field's) in the downtown Loop, especially the Loop Retail Historic District, was the city's retailing center.[4] The convenience of mass transit including streetcars and elevated trains, supported a retail corridor along State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street.[4]

By the 1920s, commuter suburbs began to have significant retail districts.[4] Prior to the bascule bridge construction, swing bridges across the river were open for ship traffic during half the daylight hours.[5] The Rush Street Bridge was the swing bridge for this area.[6] The opening of the Michigan Avenue Bridge in 1920 created a new commercial district.[4]

After 1950, suburban development reduced the role of the Loop's daily significance to many Chicagoans as downtown retail sales slipped. However, the Magnificent Mile kept a luxury shopping district close to the central business district.[7]

The concept for the Magnificent Mile was actually part of Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago.[1] It was constructed during the 1920s to replace Pine Street, which had formerly been lined with factory and warehouses near the river and fine mansion and rowhouse residences farther north.[1] The earliest building constructions varied in style, but challenged new heights in construction.[1] The name the "Magnificent Mile" is a registered trademark of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association (GNMAA).[8]

After the Great Depression and World War II, Arthur Rubloff and William Zeckendorf bought or controlled most of the property along this stretch of the avenue and supported a plan by Holabird & Root to construct new buildings and renovation of old ones that took advantage of new zoning laws.[1] Soon the property values driven by the luxury shopping districts were pricing out the nearby artists of Towertown, just south west of the Chicago Water Tower.[9]

Having acquired most of the rights to property along the Magnificent Mile at Depression-level prices, Rubloff and Zeckendorf successfully developed and promoted the area until it became one of the most prestigious addresses of the city. That distinction continues to hold today,[1] and spurred the continuing erection of more high-rise apartments and new investment along the Magnificent Mile and throughout the Near North Side.[10]

The opening of the 74-story Water Tower Place in 1975 marked the return of Chicago to retailing prominence.[4] By 1979, the State Street commercial corridor had lost its commercial vitality and was closed to street traffic for renovation including sidewalk widening until 1996.[4]

Today[edit]

Overview[edit]

Today, The Magnificent Mile contains a mixture of upscale department stores, restaurants, luxury retailers, residential and commercial buildings, financial services companies, and hotels, catering primarily to tourists and the affluent. The area also has a high concentration of the city's major media firms, such as the Chicago Tribune newspaper, and advertising agencies. The Magnificent Mile includes 3,100,000 sq ft (290,000 m2) of retail space, 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 51 hotels, and a host of sightseeing and entertainment attractions to more than 22 million visitors annually.[11]

The American Planning Association selected The Magnificent Mile as one of the 10 Great Streets for 2007 through its Great Places in America program.[12] In recent years, The Magnificent Mile has added trees and flower-filled medians to reflect the changing seasons.

Retail[edit]

Many of the world's leading retail stores populate The Magnificent Mile, including department stores Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, and Barneys New York. In addition, some of the finest luxury boutiques are located along The Magnificent Mile (many of which have only a few North American locations), including Cartier, Escada, Bottega Veneta, Marc Jacobs, Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chanel, Georg Jensen, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Max Mara, L.K.Bennett, Harry Winston, St. John, Aritzia, Omega, Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman, Prada, Montblanc, Hugo Boss, Anne Fontaine, and Rolex.

Also present are Ralph Lauren (Ralph Lauren's largest store in the world), Eskandar, Barbour, Cole Haan, Charles David, Prada, Lanvin, Giorgio Armani, Henri Bendel, Brunello Cucinelli, Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, L'Occitane en Provence, Diesel, Carolina Herrera, American Girl, Moncler, Furla, Harry Winston, Ermenegildo Zegna, Brooks Brothers, Zara, Burberry (its U.S. flagship), Vera Wang, La Perla, Tumi, Agent Provocateur, Dennis Basso, lululemon athletica, Piazza Sempione, Graff Diamonds, Tom Ford, Fratelli Rosseti, Hickey Freeman, Kiehl's, Jil Sander, Henry Beguelin, Topshop, Michael Kors, Bernadaud, Christofle, J. Crew, Arthur, Sermoneta, H&M, Manrico Cashmere, Marlowe, Paul Stuart, Graff Diamonds, David Yurman, Fogal, Christian Louboutin, Wolford, Saint Laurent, The Art of Shaving, BHLDN, Jimmy Choo, Buccellati, AllSaints, Frette, Pratesi, Culti, Tiffany & Co., and many others.[11]

The Magnificent Mile is also notable for its three urban shopping centers: Water Tower Place, The Shops at North Bridge, and 900 North Michigan Shops. Each spans multiple floors and city blocks and offers various tenants: mall mainstays and more upscale apparel shops, restaurants, and unique attractions, such as museums.

At present, rent on The Magnificent Mile is the third most expensive in the country, behind Fifth Avenue in New York and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.[13] In 2013 alone, rent rose 46%.[14]

In its book The 10 Best of Everything: An Ultimate Guide for Travelers, the National Geographic named The Magnificent Mile along with Rodeo Drive and Fifth Avenue as one of the 10 best shopping avenues in the world.[15]

Hotels and dining[edit]

Renowned and critically acclaimed restaurants such as The Signature Room at The 95th, Spiaggia, Tru, The Pump Room, Lawry's, The Grand Lux, The Park Hyatt Room, The Prime Rib, and Spago provide a variety of dining options. Three 5-star hotels (The Peninsula Chicago, Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, and Ritz-Carlton Chicago) and Illinois' only 4-star hotel (Park Hyatt) are located within about five blocks along The Magnificent Mile.[16][17]

Other hotels such as Intercontinental, Westin, Drake Hotel, and the Conrad Chicago offer convenient luxurious accommodations as well.[11] Selected luxury-class hotels are shown below:

Name Street Address Parent Company
Drake Hotel 140 E. Walton Place Hilton Hotels
Westin Michigan Avenue 909 N. Michigan Avenue Starwood Hotels
Four Seasons Hotel Chicago 900 N. Michigan Avenue – Floors 32–46 Four Seasons Hotels
Ritz-Carlton Chicago 845 N. Michigan Avenue Four Seasons Hotels
Park Hyatt 800 N. Michigan Avenue
(110 E. Chicago)
Hyatt
The Peninsula Chicago 108 E. Superior Street The Peninsula Hotels
Allerton Hotel 701 N. Michigan Avenue
Omni Chicago Hotel 676 N. Michigan Avenue Omni Hotels
The Conrad Chicago 520 N. Michigan Avenue
(521 N. Rush Street)
Hilton Hotels
Hotel Inter-Continental Chicago 505 N. Michigan Avenue InterContinental Hotels Group

Banks[edit]

The largest banks have branches along the strip including the three largest banks in the nation: Bank of America, Citibank, and JPMorgan Chase's Chase Bank.[18] Additionally, the largest banks in Chicago are present, such as LaSalle Bank and Harris Bank,[19] which is technically across the street from The Magnificent Mile. American Express has a Magnificent Mile address for one of its two Chicago service offices. Fidelity Investments has an office at the foot of The Magnificent Mile.

Chicago landmarks[edit]

Historic and landmark presences are shown in the table below, which lists Chicago Landmarks, National Register of Historic Places locations, and National Historic Landmarks along The Magnificent Mile. At the northern edge of this district on the west, one finds the exclusive One Magnificent Mile building and Oak Street running to the west. Also, at the northern edge of the district one finds the Chicago Landmark East Lake Shore Drive District, an extremely expensive and exclusive one-block area of real estate running east from N. Michigan Ave. and facing directly onto Lake Michigan.

At the southern edge of the district, the Michigan Avenue Bridge sits among four majestic 1920s skyscrapers, two of which are on The Magnificent Mile (Tribune Tower and the Wrigley Building), and two of which are not (333 North Michigan and London Guarantee Building). These buildings are contributing properties to the Michigan–Wacker Historic District.[20]

Chicago Landmark[21] Designation Date Location NRHP Date[22][23] NHL Date[24][25]
Drake Hotel[26] April 18, 1985 140 E. Walton Place May 8, 1980
Palmolive Building[27] February 16, 2000 919 N. Michigan Avenue August 21, 2003
Perkins, Fellows & Hamilton Office and Studio[28] December 1, 1993 814 N. Michigan Avenue
Old Chicago Water Tower District[29] October 6, 1971;
amended June 10, 1981
806/821 N. Michigan Avenue April 23, 1975
Allerton Hotel[30] May 29, 1998 701 N. Michigan Avenue
Woman's Athletic Club[31] October 2, 1991 626 N. Michigan Avenue
McGraw-Hill Building[32] February 7, 1997 520 N. Michigan Avenue
Tribune Tower[33] February 1, 1989 435 N. Michigan Avenue
Du Sable, Jean Baptiste Point, Homesite [34] 401 N. Michigan Avenue May 11, 1976 May 11, 1976
Michigan Avenue Bridge and Esplanade[35] October 2, 1991 Chicago River, between Michigan and Wabash Avenues
Site of Fort Dearborn[36] September 15, 1971 Intersection of N. Michigan Avenue and E. Wacker Drive

Five of the 85 tallest buildings in the world are located in The Magnificent Mile district. In fact, five of the 10 Tallest buildings in Chicago, seven of the top 18, and nine of the top 50 are located within a few blocks here. These buildings are:

Name Street Address Height
feet / meters
Floors Year
Trump International Hotel & Tower 401 N. Wabash Avenue 1,170 / 356.6 92 2008
John Hancock Center 875 N. Michigan Avenue 1,127 / 344 100 1969
900 North Michigan 900 N. Michigan Avenue 871 / 265 66 1989
Water Tower Place 845 N. Michigan Avenue 859 / 262 74 1976
Park Tower 800 N. Michigan Avenue 844 / 257 67 2000
Olympia Centre 737 N. Michigan Avenue 725 / 221 63 1986
One Magnificent Mile 980 N. Michigan Avenue 673 / 205 58 1983
Chicago Place 700 N. Michigan Avenue 608 / 185 49 1991
Palmolive Building 919 N. Michigan Avenue 565 / 172 37 1929

Seasonal events[edit]

Magnificent Mile garden planter (with visible median planter).

With each season, the ambiance of The Magnificent Mile changes. This change is signaled by several official events:[11][37]

Median planters were constructed as part of a streetscape improvement project in 1994. In the spring, hundreds of thousands of tulips bloom from mid April until the end of May. In 2008, a public art installation of kinetic sculptures designed by local and international architects was placed in the garden beds.[38]

During the summer, the "Gardens of The Magnificent Mile" festival event occurs. It is a self-guided landscape display walking tour. In 2007 and 2008, fashion dress forms graced the garden beds. The forms were designed by students from the Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago and the International Academy of Design and Technology, as well as prominent designers located on the Avenue.[39][40]

In 2009 and 2010 the first ever Summer Concert Series presented by Walgreens brought top level musical talent to the Avenue for free lunchtime shows for guests, locals, and employees of the Avenue. Past artists include: Collective Soul, Better Than Ezra, Mat Kearney, Michael Franti, Kris Allen, and Guster.

2007 Tulip Days on The Magnificent Mile with CTA bus in view.

The tradition of lighting the trees of The Magnificent Mile to start the Christmas season extends more than forty years. More than one million lights are lit and fireworks follow the event.[37] The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, presented by Harris, is the annual kick-off to Chicago's Christmas season.[41]

The day of the event has special activities and offers across Magnificent Mile businesses, plus interactive holiday booths in Pioneer Court, and a free concert with free concerts featuring popular artists all afternoon on the Harris Stage (past artists have included Jason Mraz, Mitchel Musso, and KT Tunstall). In the evening, Mickey Mouse leads a procession down Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to Wacker Drive, stopping at each block to light the trees. He brings along a lot of friends, including Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, other Disney friends, marching bands, celebrities and more. It is considered the first annual Christmas procession of the year.[42]

Transportation and infrastructure[edit]

North Michigan Avenue is a six-lane two-way street that is serviced by Chicago Transit Authority public buses along the Magnificent Mile that connect the area to the entire Chicago metropolitan area. It is also serviced by seasonal trolley service along the street, and the foot of the Magnificent Mile is serviced by seasonal water transit services. Two blocks west along State Street, the Chicago 'L' rapid transit services the street via its Red Line. Pedestrian traffic abounds along the broad sidewalks that are shielded by extensive, mature greenery that provides much of the friendly atmosphere.[12]

In autumn 2011, North Michigan Ave. was completely repaved from the Chicago River to Oak Street with a durable stone-matrix asphalt pavement mix that incorporated high levels of recycled materials, including waste shingles, ground tire rubber, and asphalt millings, diverting some 800 tons of material from landfills.[43] The $1 million project was completed without ever completely halting traffic on the street. In July 2012, the City of Chicago and CDOT were honored with the Environmental Leadership Award from the National Asphalt Pavement Association.[44]

Malls[edit]

The Lego Store is a highlight of Water Tower Place. It frequently exhibits lifesize or larger than life characters at the main entrance of the mall.
Mall Image Construction Date Floors (Mall/Building) Anchor Stores Address Selected Tenants
1989 (6/66) Bloomingdale's
Mark Shale
900 N. Michigan Avenue
shop900.com
Mall:
Banana Republic (women)•CoachGucciJ. Crew

Tower:
Four Seasons Hotel

1975 (8/74) Macy's 835 N. Michigan Avenue
shopwatertower
.com
Mall:
Abercrombie & FitchAnn TaylorbebeLegoTourneauVictoria's Secret

Tower:
Ritz-CarltonOprah Winfrey's residence

1991 (8/49) Saks Fifth Avenue (women) 700 N. Michigan Avenue This mall has been closed down and is currently in the process of being converted into office space.
2000 (5/) Nordstrom 520 N. Michigan Avenue
(600 North Michigan Avenue)*
[1]
520:
Hugo BossSwatchSephoraArmani Exchange

Intersections[edit]

A bust of Cubs and Bears announcer Jack Brickhouse
Public performers are common on the Magnificent mile.
The Fourth Presbyterian Church moved its congregation to North Michigan Avenue in 1914.[45]
Superior Street & Michigan hosts men's and women's Saks Fifth Avenue locations across from each other.
Customers at the Apple store on Michigan.
The upper 700 block of the Magnificent Mile has flagship Pottery Barn(closed) and Banana Republic locations nestled between its Tiffany & Co. and Polo Ralph Lauren corner stores.
Cross Street Image Address[46] Intersection Type Cross Street Type Commerce[47]
Oak Street & Michigan
1000 North Pedestrian (E,W,S) Street,
Pedestrian (N,E) Underpass,
Vehicular
Lighted Intersection (Two-way) NW: Harris Bank

NE: Chicago Park District
SW: One Magnificent Mile
SE: Chanel at the Drake Hotel

Walton Street & Michigan
932 North NW: Eskandar at 70 E Walton

NE: Drake Hotel
SW: Gucci at 900 North Michigan
SE: Louis Vuitton

Delaware Place & Michigan
900 North Pedestrian (E,W,S,N) Street


Vehicular southbound turning lane

Lighted Intersection (One-Way Eastbound) NW: Max Mara at 900 North Michigan

NE: Fratelli Rossetti at Westin Hotel
SW: Fourth Presbyterian Church
SE: The North Face at John Hancock Center

Chestnut Street & Michigan
860 North Pedestrian (E,W,S,N) Street


Vehicular northbound turning lane

Lighted Intersection (One-Way Westbound) NW: Fourth Presbyterian Church

NE: Best Buy at John Hancock Center
SW: Water Tower Place
SE: Plaza Escada

Pearson Street & Michigan
830 North Pedestrian (E,W,S,N) Street


Vehicular southbound turning lane

Lighted Intersection (One-Way Eastbound) NW: Topshop

NE: Macy's at Water Tower Place
SW: Chicago Water Tower
SE: Chicago Avenue Pumping Station

Chicago Avenue & Michigan
800 North Pedestrian (E,W,S,N) Street


Vehicular northbound and westbound turning lanes

Lighted Intersection (Two-Way) NW: Chicago Water Tower

NE: Chicago Avenue Pumping Station
SW: Polo Ralph Lauren and The Peninsula Hotel
SE: Walgreens

Superior & Michigan
732 North Pedestrian (E,W,S,N) Street


Vehicular southbound turning lane

Lighted Intersection (One-Way Eastbound) NW: Tiffany & Co. and The Peninsula Hotel

NE: Neiman-Marcus
SW: Chicago Place (Saks Fifth Avenue for women)
SE: Saks Fifth Avenue for men

Huron Street & Michigan
700 North Pedestrian (E,W,S,N) Street


Vehicular northbound turning lane

Lighted Intersection (One-Way Westbound) NW: Talbots @ Chicago Place

NE: Nine West @ Allerton Hotel
SW: Express
SE: Apple, Inc.

Erie Street & Michigan
658 North Pedestrian (E,W,S,N) Street


Vehicular southbound turning lane

Lighted Intersection (One-Way Eastbound) NW: Hanig's Footwear

NE: Garmin
SW: Crate & Barrel
SE: Ferragamo

Ontario Street & Michigan
628 North Pedestrian (E,W,S,N) Street


Vehicular northbound turning lane

Lighted Intersection (One-Way Westbound) NW: Cartier

NE: Burberry
SW: Ann Taylor
SE: Coach

Ohio Street & Michigan
600 North Pedestrian (E,W,S,N) Street


Vehicular southbound turning lane

Lighted Intersection (One-Way Eastbound) NW: Eddie Bauer

NE: 605 N. Michigan (Guess also:American Express, Chase Bank)
SW: Forever 21
SE: Gap

Grand Avenue & Michigan underpass
530 North Pedestrian (N) Street, (E,W) Sidewalk Lighted Intersection / Vehicular Underpass (One-Way Westbound) NW: Kenneth Cole

NE: Westfield North Bridge
SW: Atlas Galleries
SE: Intercontinental Hotel

Illinois Street & Michigan
500 North Pedestrian (N,E) Street, (W) Sidewalk Lighted Intersection (Eastbound sidestreet) / Vehicular Underpass (One-Way Eastbound) NW: Bank of America @ 500 N. Michigan Avenue

NE: Intercontinental Hotel
SW: 444 N. Michigan Avenue
SE: McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum

Hubbard Street & Michigan 430 North Pedestrian (N,S) Street, (E,W) Sidewalk Lighted Intersection / Vehicular Underpass W: Walgreens @ 430 N. Michigan Avenue (Realtor Building)

E: Tribune Tower

North Water Street (lower)/Jack Brickhouse Way (upper) & Michigan
410 North (upper)/400 North (lower) Pedestrian (N) Street, (E,W) Sidewalk Double Jughandle U-Turn lanes NW: Wrigley Building

NE: DuSable Homesite @ 401 N. Michigan Avenue
SW: Michigan Avenue Bridge
SE: Michigan Avenue Bridge

Chicago River
NW:

NE:
SW:
SE:

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Stamper, John M., "Chicago's North Michigan Avenue", University of Chicago Press, 1991, inner cover, ISBN 0-226-77085-0
  3. ^ "7 Days in Chicago | Chicago 7 Day Itinerary". World66.com. 2009-07-23. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
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  5. ^ Cain, Louis P. (2005). "Infrastructure". The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
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  13. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-06-18/business/ct-biz-0619-mag-mile-20110618_1_retail-space-rent-burberry
  14. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-08-15/business/ct-biz-0815-magmile-retail-20130815_1_cbre-rents-chicago-river
  15. ^ http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/top-10/shopping-avenues/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ Sardone, Susan Breslow. "Mobil 5-Star Hotels / Award Winners 2007". 2007 About, Inc. 
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  20. ^ Wagner, Robert. (1978-02-03) National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Michigan–Wacker Historic District National Park Service.
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  26. ^ East Lake Shore Drive Historic District
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  30. ^ "Allerton Hotel". City of Chicago Dept. of Pl. and Devpmt., Landmarks Div. 2003. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
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  33. ^ "Tribune Tower". City of Chicago Dept. of Pl. and Devpmt., Landmarks Div. 2003. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  34. ^ "Du Sable, Jean Baptiste Point, Homesite". National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-04-16. 
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  36. ^ "Site of Fort Dearborn". City of Chicago Dept. of Pl. and Devpmt., Landmarks Div. 2003. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  37. ^ a b "Seasonal Events". The Magnificent Mile, GNMAA/Centric Web, Inc. 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  38. ^ "Tulip Days". The Magnificent Mile, GNMAA/Centric Web, Inc. 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  39. ^ "Gardens of The Magnificent Mile". The Magnificent Mile, GNMAA/Centric Web, Inc. 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  40. ^ "WHEN FLORA AND FASHION COME TOGETHER". The Magnificent Mile, GNMAA/Centric Web, Inc. 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  41. ^ "Magnificent Mile Lights Festival". The Magnificent Mile, GNMAA/Centric Web, Inc. 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-18. 
  42. ^ "The 2007 Magnificent Mile Lights Festival: ABC 7 Chicago kicks off the holiday season nationwide with live broadcast of the festival". abc7chicago.com home. 2007-11-08. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
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  44. ^ "CDOT Recognized for Environmental Leadership for Innovative Use of Recycled Materials in Michigan Avenue Repaving Project" (Press release). Chicago Department of Transportation. 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
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  46. ^ Hayner, Don and Tom McNamee, Streetwise Chicago, Loyola University Press, 1988, ISBN
  47. ^ "Magnificent Mile". Emporis. 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-15. 

External links[edit]