Construction Update
The Thompson Chicago in the Gold Coast

The Thompson Chicago Hotel under construction

Work continues at The Thompson Chicago, the city’s soon-to-be newest hotel. It’s actually the former Sutton Place Hotel (21 East Bellevue Place), perched on the corner of North Rush Street and East Bellevue Place in the Gold Coast. The Sutton Place sign remains affixed to the wall outside.

The 246-room, 23-story tower was built in 1987. Last year, the Thompson Hotels chain took over management duties. Locally, Thompson also runs the Hotel Sax (333 North Dearborn Street) at Marina City as well as hotels in New York, London, Toronto, and elsewhere. Now the firm has brought in “rockstar designer” Tara Bernerd to revitalize the property.

As you can see from the picture, the lobby is being pretty much gutted. Bernerd has a reputation for creating hotel spaces that are described as both “edgy” and “cozy.”

That should work well with the competition in the neighborhood, which includes PUBLIC Chicago (1301 North State Parkway, formerly the Ambassador East Hotel), and the Hotel Indigo (1244 North Dearborn Street); and with the neighborhood, itself. The Thompson is right across the street from Viagra Triangle, which is in transition from being the haunt of 65-year-old cigar-smoking chest hair and gold chain-wearing elderly playboys to a new crowd of 20- and 30-year-old mom’s money, skinny jeans, guyliner, and never-had-a-real-job metrosexuals.

The new hotel is also expected to sport a new restaurant from One Off Hospitality, the company behind The Publican in what’s left of Chicago’s meat packing district; the extremely well-regarded Avec in Restaurant Row; and The Violet Hour, Wicker Park’s buzzword-compliant “handcrafted artesianal cocktail lounge.”

The Thompson Chicago is expected to open to the public later this year.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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