How Al Friedman helped create River North

The first night I ever spent in Chicago was in a fleabag hotel on Wells Street in the late-60s. The area now known as River North was then one of Chicago’s Skid Rows and my room was swarming with roaches.

Business Week recently spotlighted River North’s transition into its current affluence and a destination for tech-oriented offices. The Business Week article quotes Al Friedman, who may have been the single most important individual in the neighborhood’s transformation, and who remains a major property owner in the area.

If you watch YoChicago’s four-part interview with Al Friedman you can learn a great deal about how neighborhoods change. The second, third and fourth parts of the interview, which took place seven years ago, are below.


  • Ken 4 years

    Very nice video.

  • the urban politician 4 years

    Definitely a great video, but is this a few years old?

    The story of River North’s rise is one worth hearing

  • tup,

    Thanks for asking a very relevant question.

    I’ve updated my post to clarify that the video is now 7 years old.

  • the urban politician 4 years

    I remember when this video was first posted.

    Interestingly, things are even more on fire now than they were back then, despite the recession.

    As recently as 2002 I was standing at Haray Carey’s on Kinzie st and remember that the view northwest was a sweeping landscape of parking lots puncuated by the occasional small buildings.

    Look at that same vantage point now. It’s stunning.

  • Sheridan B 4 years

    That view has definitely changed dramatically. If you hadn’t visited Chicago in 10-12 years the skyline would look very different and some places changed beyond recognition.