Another Sliver of a Hotel Slotting Into the Gold Coast

We knew a new hotel was coming to the Gold Coast/Streeterville borderlands, but what was unveiled today wasn’t exactly what we were expecting.  We’d heard previously through a web site that solicits money from rich foreigners, especially Chinese, to invest in American real estate that a Marriott Autograph Chicago was planned for 224 East Ontario Street.  Now, according to 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly, it’s officially a reality and making its way through the proper city channels.

Marriott Autograph Chicago drawingMr. Reilly spilled the beans on the new 20-story hotel in his weekly newsletter.  It’s being developed by SMASHotels, which also owns the Fairfield Inn and Suites virtually next door. More famously, SMAS is the company that developed theWit Hotel at State and Lake Streets, and less famously a joint out in the hinterlands somewhere.

The new hotel was designed by Koo and Associates, which also brought us theWit.  According to Mr. Reilly,

Koo and Associates chose a more modern design to give homage to the block which was the former home of the Museum of Contemporary Art but also provide some aesthetic diversity to the streetscape while respecting the scale, coursing and property lines of adjacent structures.

The three-story brown gabled commercial building between the new hotel and the Fairfield Inn at 220 East Ontario won’t be torn down.   It is currently on the city’s “orange” list, meaning that it’s not quite important enough to qualify for landmark status, but it’s old and cool enough to raise eyebrows if you were to try to renovate it with a wrecking ball.

Marketing materials for the new hotel tout its proximity to shopping and Northwestern’s planned biomedical research tower which will replace the now-demolished original Prentice Womens’ Hospital.

Since the new hotel fits within the current zoning rules for its location, there won’t be any public meetings about this.  But the developer did meet with local community group SOAR, which suggested alterations to the original plan.

But we also know that SOAR has had discussions about another new hotel at 150 East Ontario, a block away.  Back in 2008 this was going to be a great big Marriott Editions hotel, but that fell through.  Then around this time last year the two-and-three-story buildings were bulldozed.  But to date, there is no hotel there, which means there’s still another hotel proposal for the area floating around out there.

Here are some details on the new building for 224 East Ontario:

  • Developer: SMASHotels as ECD Company
  • Architecture firm: Koo and Associates
  • Stories: 20
  • Height: 217 feet, six inches
  • Width: 60 feet
  • Rooms: 198
  • Loading docks: 1
  • Parking: none


Location: 224 East Ontario Street, Gold Coast (not Streeterville)

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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