Construction Update
Virgin Loses Her Red Top, Gets Ready To Show Chicago Her Stuff

Virgin Hotel under construction
The world’s first Virgin Hotel is very privately getting ready for its debut.

Virgin Hotel under constructionThe unique red construction netting that once shrouded its upper reaches of the former Dearborn Bank Building at 203 North Wabash Avenue is long gone, and it doesn’t look like there’s too much more facade work to do.

Most of the windows used to have a red masking tape grid on them. But now only a few do, which could mean that those portions of the $55 million renovation have been completed.

The front entrance is still shrouded in mystery, with the Wabash Avenue side behind a thick construction barrier—once again, in Virgin’s signature red color.

Virgin Hotel under constructionIt’s been interesting watching this building defy convention, and cover itself in a red theme during this renovation.  But one part won’t be red when it’s done—the top.  It is getting a 2,584-square-foot green roof.

As for the inside?  Well, that will have to remain up to your imagination.  Virgin Group is being super tight-fisted with the drawings, going so far as to jump ugly with travel media giant Condé Nast over some renderings it posted and then was forced to remove from one of its web sites.

Latest word on the street is that the Virgin Hotel will miss Chicago’s summer tourist season, and open in September. Ish.

Virgin Hotel under construction

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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