Hotel Planned for Michigan Avenue Eyesore (Again)

168 North Michigan under construction

For the second time in the last few years, plans are afoot to convert the old Atlantic National Bank Building at 168 North Michigan Avenue into a boutique hotel.

The last plan was floated just about three years ago when Crown Commercial Real Estate and Development was going to spend $30 million turning the 12-story building into a Hotel Indigo.  The project was going to finally complete the 1916 building.  Marshall and Fox designed it so that eventually it could be extended to 16 stories.

Construction crews showed up a year after the initial announcement and spent months hacking apart the dodgy bits of the building’s facade, and gutting parts of its interior.  And then, as sometimes happens in downtown Chicago, one thing ceased leading to another.  The formerly abandoned building, now pockmarked and shabby, went back to being a toilet for vagrants.

Now Crain’s Chicago Business reports that local building rescue outfit Oxford Capital has bought 168 North Michigan Avenue.  True to form, Oxford plans to stick a hotel in the building.

Oxford has recently been a prolific converter of craptastic, past-their-prime, or otherwise distressed downtown Chicago buildings into fancy new hotels.  The Felix and the Godfrey in River North were two of its rescues.  It’s also working on the LondonHouse a couple of blocks away at 360 North Michigan Avenue.

The former Atlantic National Bank Building (originally the Federal Life Insurance Building) is located in the middle of a mini-renaissance going on in the four blocks of Michigan Avenue immediately south of the Chicago River.  Old office buildings are being renovated or replaced with shiny new skyscrapers, and new hotels, stores, and restaurants are shouldering their way into the area.  168 is perfectly positioned to take advantage of this transformation, which is expected to draw thousands of tourists from the Magnificent Mile and Millennium Park.

Location: 168 North Michigan Avenue, 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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