The former Atlantic Bank building at 168 North Michigan Avenue looks like it’s been gnawed on by angry terra cotta beavers. And unfortunately, that’s how it’s looked for over a year now.
The Chicago Architecture Blog’s Daniel Schell recently assessed the progress of turning the former home to the Greek National Bank into Chicago’s next Hotel Indigo. What he found is a building with many nibbles taken out of its terra cotta facade, presumably the weak and damaged bits taken away to be repaired or replaced.
But when we stopped by back in October, it looked exactly the same as it does now. And last July. And in December of 2013. So, what’s going on at this prime location in the heart of an area poised to extend the magnificence of the Magnificent Mile?
The answer is demolition. And lots of it.
Late last year the city issued permits to pretty much gut the inside of the building. That includes removing stairwells, the concrete fire-proofing material surrounding the building’s steel beams, and even removing entire concrete floor slabs. The plan is to gut the entire building and construct two floors of retail space at the bottom, a rooftop bar, and the hotel between.
Once that’s done, the remaining steel skeleton will be reinforced, and then the interior build-out of the 156 room hotel can begin. Also anticipated is a steakhouse by semi-celebrity chef David Burke. You may know him from David Burke’s Primehouse over at The James hotel. Or maybe you know him from David Burke’s “Flavor Spray,” which is a spray…that you use on your food. You probably don’t know him from the time Bobby Flay beat him on Iron Chef America or from the two times he lost on Top Chef Masters. But that’s OK because he can still cook. Even without “flavor spray.”