After a long, cold winter’s hibernation, there are signs that real progress may come to Wacker Tower (68 East Wacker Place) sooner, rather than later.
The 1928 art deco skyscraper by Holabird & Root has been the subject of several attempted hotel conversions over the last decade or so, but the current one appears to finally have traction.
Loop Spy Edward recently sent in pictures of a new construction hoist anchored to the north side of the building formerly known as the Chicago Motor Club Building. We hadn’t noticed it earlier, either, and a check of city records shows the permit for it was only issued a couple of months ago.
More recently, the city issued a permit for “Foundation and superstructure only for a new 27-story hotel.”
And then this past Wednesday, Mayor Emanuel sent an ordinance to city council asking for Class L tax status for the property. If passed, that would give the redeveloper tax credits for preserving the landmark building. The Department of Planning and Development, and the Landmarks Commission have already given their blessings.
The total cost for the project is estimated at a little over $40 million, including $9.5 million to buy the building in the first place.
Should things continue to fall into place, the new hotel could be open by June of 2015.
Here are some more bits of tid:
- Developer (on paper): Integrated Motor Club LLC
- Developer (for realsies): MB Real Estate
- Hotel rooms: 143
- Current main doors to be replaced with doors that more accurately match the originals
- Cast iron ornaments to be saved where possible, and recreated where not
- Original signs flanking the main entrance to be restored
- Three new passenger elevators
- Complete restoration of the lobby mural
- Modern light fixtures to be removed and replaced with period-accurate fixtures
- Marble service desk in lobby to be preserved
- Mail chute to be restored
- New elevator doors to match the historic decor
With any luck, a year from now people will be able to go inside this building and admire it as it once was. Until then, enjoy this photo gallery of the terrible state it is currently in: