The mad scramble to squeeze as many hotels into downtown Chicago as possible continues with a return visit from Hilton’s Conrad brand.
There used to be a Conrad in the former McGraw-Hill Building at 520 North Michigan Avenue. That building is now part of the Shops at North Bridge complex, and the hotel goes by the name of The Gwen.
The second iteration of the Conrad flag will be at 101 East Erie Street, formerly the DraftFCB Building.
A first permit for the $52 million conversion of the office building into a hotel was issued in June of 2015. A second permit was issued just a few days ago as if to remind us this project is still ongoing:
Permit issued for renovation/alteration Revision to permit #100601120 (D14168-01) for the conversion of existing office into hotel on floors 8 through 20 and roof top amenities.
Whatever is going on at 101 East Erie, it had better wrap up soon. The Hilton web site is already taking reservations for this property for stays beginning September 1.
The new hotel is a project of Conrad Hotels and Resorts, Geller Investment Company, and Wanxiang America Real Estate Group. The renovation was designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon out of Paris. You may know PYR from the most recent renovation of The Savoy in London, which somehow manages to feel exciting and welcoming while at the same time making you feel inadequate and under-dressed. A little closer to home, you can check out PYR’s work at the Sofitel a few blocks away at 20 East Chestnut Street.
When complete, the Conrad Chicago is expected to have 289 rooms, 10,000 square feet of meeting space, an Italian restaurant called Il Tavolino (The Table), a hipster pub called Baptiste & Bottle, and a rooftop Japanese restaurant by the name of Noyane (Hidden Roof).
The conversion from office to hotel isn’t going to change the exterior of the building much, but it will mean that more people can appreciate the views from inside. To get an idea of what those views will look like, check out the photographs below.