The plan to open a Restoration Hardware inside the historic Three Arts Club (1300 North Dearborn Parkway) in Chicago’s Gold Coast isn’t going anywhere for now.
The Chicago Landmarks commission failed to approve the retailer’s plan to renovate the long-vacant building into a home goods store. The proposal has been sent back to the landmarks committee for further discussion.
The sticking point is that Restoration Hardware wants to cover up the interior features, many of which are what made the building so beloved that it was granted landmark status by the city of Chicago in 1981.
Thursday afternoon, Booth-Hansen architect Charlie Stetson told the landmarks commission that the Three Arts interior “doesn’t represent the Restoration Hardware brand.” That didn’t sit well with many in attendance, including those who spoke in favor of keeping the unique features of the building visible. Chicago Architecture Blog’s Mary Chmielewicz reports that Commission on Chicago Landmarks Chairman Rafael Leon didn’t buy it, either, even though the landmarks staff recommended approving the retail chain’s plans.
The Three Arts Club Building was designed by Holabird & Roche, and has been vacant since 2003. There have been several proposals over the years for retailers to move in, but concerns about traffic and noise have scuttled most of those. In 2009 there was a plan to open a nice quiet columbarium in the building, but that also died.