Plans for a 199-key hotel to replace the parking lot at the northwest corner Hubbard and LaSalle were officially presented to River North neighbors last night at a meeting hosted by Alderman Brendan Reilly. Penned by Saroki Architecture, the 18-story tower will rise to 224 feet as measured to the top of the building mechanicals and features 1,900 square feet of meeting space, 5,360 square feet of ground floor retail, an indoor pool, outdoor terrace, and extensive green roof. To create a sense of texture and visual interest, the design utilizes different depths of blue-tinted window wall and curtain wall systems as well as multi-planed roof elements.
Due to the "limited service" nature of the hotel, no on-site parking is required under Chicago zoning code. The hotel’s valet will, however, utilize 30 to 35 spaces in an existing nearby garage with the majority of trips expected to serve restaurant patrons rather than hotel visitors. Guest loading is expected to occur on Hubbard though the exact dimensions of a dedicated zone are still being finalized. Commercial loading will take place off the alleyway just north of the site. The adjacent landmarked terra cotta-clad Veseman Building at 444 N. LaSalle will be preserved and see the removal of its rooftop billboard.
While Michigan-based developer the Porritt Group has existing Chicago area assets, the Hubbard and LaSalle project would be the firm’s first high-rise and hospitality project in the Windy City. "We were researching where we would like to do some more ground-up development and this surface lot was available and offered a good opportunity," explains Jake Porritt. "We found traction with partners and potential tenants right away. It was really a merger opportunity meets availability."
Though it’s too early to announce a specific flag or operator, Porritt did confirm that the hotel will be 4.5-stars. As for the ground floor restaurant space, the developer revealed that he was in talks with The Smith out of New York plus an undisclosed but well-known local restaurateur.
Alderman Brendan Reilly added a couple caveats following the development team’s presentation. Firstly, he requested the redo of the hotel’s current traffic study from March to include a greater geographical area and to take into account Chicago’s increased summertime congestion. He also reassured residents in nearby buildings that any live and/or amplified music from the hotel’s indoor lounge or outdoor rooftop could be regulated under a specific plan of operation to minimize nuisances. Such an agreement would still need to be negotiated.
Assuming city approvals go swiftly, the project could be in the ground by the first quarter of 2017 with construction anticipated to take approximately 18 months. Meanwhile River North continues grow as an epicenter for Chicago’s booming hospitality industry with a nearby 500-key tower behind the Reid-Murdoch Center and a 200-room project at 100 W. Huron also on the drawing table.