Originally a bakery, then the offices of Playboy Enterprises, and later a museum, the building at 237 East Ontario Street is now slated to be demolished and developed into 24-story hotel. It’s just another Chicago parcel changing with the times.
Tishman Realty and Construction and the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR) held a meeting last night at the Sheraton Grand Chicago, which Tishamn just happens to own, to reveal its proposal to construct a 24-story hotel where Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art was previously located. (The museum is now at 220 East Chicago Avenue.)
If constructed, the building will serve as a “limited service hotel.” As explained by the developer, this means it will include only basic amenities, a reduced eatery serving only breakfast, a small hotel bar for hotel guests, and no on-site parking. So, stay out residents of Streeterville! Guests who desire to park their car can use valet service offered by the hotel that will park cars at a nearby garage. The building’s limited amenities include a series of small conference rooms and an indoor pool.
The site is relatively small compared to most of its neighbors, with little street access. To accommodate the flow of hotel guests arriving and departing, the building will incorporate a porte cochère adjacent to its alleyway, which Tishman wants to widen by three feet. This proposed use of the alleyway became quite contentious during the meeting. Numerous residents made claims that they don’t trust traffic studies and that despite assurance from an expert that, of all possible options to accommodate vehicles, this was the best, SOAR’s members remained unconvinced.
It will be interesting to see whether Alerman Reilly requires any adjustments to what appeared to be a well designed proposal for what is currently a vacant, underutilized building.
Editor’s note: While not historic, this building does have a little history. You can read about it in our previous article: Bakery, Bunnies, Brushes and Beds: A Storied Streeterville Building is Up for Demolition.