This is Not the Design of the New Loop Hotel Tower

Drawing of 201 North Clark

Skyscraper enthusiasts had their hopes lifted, then quickly dashed, by an article in Crain’s Chicago Business last week.  It was about Garvey Court (201 North Clark Street), the hoboriffic food court that has the same name as the stinky subterranean stub of a street it borders.

According to Crain’s, and Cook County records, there’s a plan afoot to demolish the foodie nightmare and replace it with a hotel. (“Yay!”)   That is, if the partners in the project can work out their differences in court, and get funding from a bank.  (“Awwww..”) Still, Crain’s reports that all of the restaurants in the building have had their leases terminated.  A good sign if you’re into skyscrapers.  A bad sign if you’re looking for cheap eats, or a place to stand and shake a cup at passers-by.

What hotel brand might spring up at this location?  We don’t know for sure, but we can say that until very recently, SLS Hotels had a 10-foot-tall, 50-foot-wide sign outside one of its west coast properties proclaiming that an SLS Chicago is “coming soon.”  SLS is known for splashing out a half-billion here, and a half-billion there to build über-chic luxury lodging for beautiful people in places like Beverly Hills and South Beach.  The Crain’s article notes that the hotel management company involved with the Garvey Court project is Hampshire Hotel Management, whose most prominent partnership is with the Wyndham chain and sports properties like Best Western and Days Inn.  So, it’s probably not SLS.

Model of 201 North Clark“But what about the tower?” we can hear you beckoning from behind your morning Starbucks.  A few weeks ago we were making a nuisance of ourselves at the Michigan Avenue cubicle farm known as Solomon Cordwell Buenz and saw the lovely poster pictured above tacked to a wall of current projects.  Those of you familiar with the Clark/Lake/Garvey metroplex will be able to instantly recognize it as a project for the block with the doomed food court.

It’s part Citigroup Center in New York; and part 161 North Clark, just steps away.  Either way, that’s a heck of a dramatic finish for any Chicago skyscraper, let alone one designed by friends-of-the-blog SCB.

So, is this the building planned to replace Garvey [Food] Court on Garvey Court?  We’re not getting our hopes up.

Even though it was on a wall surrounded by other projects currently in very active development, there’s the little problem of the model pictured in the photograph to the right.  You see, that model has been sitting on a plinth in the vestibule between reception and the architects’ bull pen at SCB for at least the last three years, and we take a picture of it every time we visit.  It has been described to us as a project that “didn’t happen.”  But does that mean it won’t ever happen?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Location: 201 North Clark Street, The Loop


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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