May 5, 2016
For this week's Epstein Throwback Thursday nostalgia trip we visit Palatine, Illinois in October, 1969 for the grand opening of the 10-story Willow Creek Office Building. This 135,000 square foot office building, located in a northern suburb of Chicago at 800 Northwest Highway, was constructed of reinforced concrete and was planned as the focal point for large shopping and office park being developed by the Winston-Muss Corporation. In addition, plans called for this building to have an identical twin located right next door.
One of the main marketing features of this building was its Epstein designed HVAC system which included 100% electric heat with individual office air conditioning that was provided around the clock an amenity that in the late 60s was a very rare feature for commercial office buildings.
The first major tenant for the Willow Creek Office Building was the Suburban National Bank who occupied a significant portion of the office space as well as operating a retail banking operation on the first floor. In a way, Suburban still is the tenant some 45+ years later. In 1994, Suburban became part of Harris Bank and today, Harris is now merged with BMO to become BMO Harris Bank, and they are currently the main tenant, complete with large roof-top signage, for this Epstein designed building.
In addition to having the 'same' tenant, this simple and clean commercial office building looks more or less just like it did back in 1969. About the only noticeable physical change apparent can be seen on the roof where there is now satellite dishes and various other communication equipment on the east and west corners of the building.
And, lastly, if you are wondering about the 'twin' building? Well, it never materialized as Winston-Muss, shortly after the completion of Willow Creek, turned its development attention towards retail developments on the east coast.