One Hotel, Two Hotel, No Hotel, New Hotel

Chicago Place with its vertical mall

Chicago Place with its vertical mall

Just when you thought another hotel couldn’t be crammed into Chicago’s Near North neighborhood, Crain’s Chicago Business reports that one is coming to Rush Street.

In fact, it’s coming to Crain’s old headquarters building at 740 North Rush Street, which sported a legacy “Crain’s” logo in fading paint way up high on the facade until just about a year ago.

These days, of course, the building is better known as the place where tourists line up rain or shine, snow or wind, to get into Giordano’s Pizza, while men of questionable repute sell counterfeit Tory Burch handbags in plain view of passing police officers.

So how does one of Near North’s top tourist attractions end up getting kicked out of its long-time home?  Bankruptcy.  Crain’s explains that when the pizza chain went through bankruptcy a couple of years ago, it lost the building and is only a renter now.

All this is happening across the street from Chicago Place, the former vertical mall that went to the Great Discount Bin In The Sky years ago.  Recently, there were pinky swears all up and down Michigan Avenue and LaSalle Street that the derelict retail space would be converted into a hotel any minute now.

It’s been at least a million minutes since then, and the only thing being renovated in that building is the Saks Fifth Avenue, which recently brought its Men’s Store back under the mothership’s roof and is about to open a restaurant on the seventh floor. (One of our Gold Coast Spies has already sampled the food, and the menu looks like it should keep the I-State tourists moving along.)

Go two blocks further south, and there’s even more hotel news.

Again, it’s Crain’s all over the hotel news like a fat guy on a slab of ribs, reporting that the Spanish hotel chain AC Hotel is going to take over the still pretty new Four Points by Sheraton Hotel at 630 North Rush Street.

According to Wikimopedia, even though AC Hotel started in exotic Pozuelo de Alarcon, Spain, it’s actually owned by Marriott, in significantly less-exotic Bethesda, Maryland.

Although it doesn’t mention Chicago specifically, you can read Marriott’s announcement about bringing the AC Hotel brand to the United States in the press release below.

Marriott International Imports its European AC Hotels by Marriott Brand into the Americas

AC Hotel Recoletos (Madrid)Design-focused AC Hotels by Marriott Brings a Distinctly Urban Esthetic to Travel Consumers.

Bethesda, Md., – June 3, 2013 – Today at the NYU International Hospitality Investment Conference in New York, Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) is announcing it will import its popular design-focused AC Hotels by Marriott brand into the US and the rest of the Americas. The brand inspired by the runways and fashion houses of Milan, features simple, clean and crisp lines, marrying sophisticated European style with approachable design for a distinctly urban feel. Each hotel reflects the uniqueness and character of its location.

AC Hotel Nice (France)AC Hotels by Marriott was launched in 2011 as a joint venture between Marriott International and Spanish group AC Hotels, which was founded in 1998 by Antonio Catalán. Today, AC Hotels by Marriott has a portfolio of 79 hotels in Spain, Italy, Portugal and France, encompassing nearly 9,000 rooms.

AC Lounge at AC Hotel Nice (France)“By importing AC Hotels by Marriott into the US, we believe we can increase Marriott’s overall market share among younger business travelers who make three or more business trips a year, representing a total market size of $31 – $35 billion,” said Brian King, global brand officer, Marriott Endorsed Brands. “We have identified an industry void among consumers who are connected, communal and curious with an urban spirit and desire a design-focused hotel brand that is widely distributed.”

AC Hotels by Marriott has extremely high brand recognition in Spain and is among the 50 best valued brands within that market. There are currently five AC Hotels by Marriott in the company’s global development pipeline, and there is strong interest among owners in developing the brand in the North and South America.

AC – Biblioteca La Finca Alta“Marriott has a strong track record for developing and growing brands,” said Tony Capuano, executive vice president and chief development officer, Marriott Global Development. “Our experienced owners and franchisees are highly enthusiastic about the growth potential of this unique, design-focused brand for new construction, conversions and adaptive re-use opportunities.”

AC Hotels by Marriott, which will sit in the upper moderate lodging tier, will add to the company’s emerging supply of lifestyle brands that includes the recently announced moderately priced MOXY HOTELS in Europe. AC Hotels by Marriott feature lobbies containing a curated collection of inviting furnishings, modern patterns and textures that feel museum-like with a layered tone-on-tone color palette of warm greys and soft charcoal accents that carries through to the guest rooms. Within the lobby, guests can enjoy the AC Lounge, serving small plates, cocktails, and a wide selection of wines and craft beers. Guests can retreat to work or relax in the library with its wide tables that serves as the business center as well. The library also offers locally relevant reading and artifacts. WiFi throughout every AC Hotels by Marriott property will be free. Guests and non-guests will be able to book spaces to work in the lobbies using Marriott’s Workspace on Demand powered by Liquidspace. AC Hotels by Marriott will offer guests a full breakfast buffet.

Author: Editor

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

Share This Post On