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From Cutting Edge to Cost Cutting


The McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc opens her first community center in San Diego, merging inspirational architecture with neighborhood outreach.


Joan Kroc dies, leaving $1.5 billion to the Salvation Army for a nationalchain of Kroc centers across the country.


The Salvation Army launches a Chicago campaign to build the largest Kroc Center in the country. Sixty million dollars is budgeted for its construction in Bronzeville.

Mayor Daley suggests holding an international architectural competition. The third-ward alderman Dorothy Tillman expresses concern over the lack of African American finalists and questions the commitment to the needs of her ward.

The New Mexico– based designer Antoine Predock wins the bid. When an agreement on a fee cannot be reached, organizers turn to their second choice, a dramatic glass design by the local architect Helmut Jahn.


Tillman rejects the building plans, and the project is relocated to West Pullman.


A failing economy cripples fundraising, and Jahn’s design proves too expensive. Organizers go back to the drawing board to find a local architect willing to work with their budget.


The final design, by Joe Antunovich, features a green roof and fewer striking details than previous plans. Groundbreaking is currently set for spring 2010, if all goes as planned.

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