Stalled 39-Story Loop Hotel Project May Be Ready to Restart

178 West Randolph Street

180 West Randolph Street

Two years after fixing up the joint with new curbs, lighting, and even trees, it looks like the future holds something different for the surface parking lot at 180 West Randolph Street. And that something could be a 39-story hotel and residential stack pack.

Right now if you look up the property in the city’s records, you’ll see that it’s governed by something a little unusual — a Parking Planned Development. Number 977 to be exact, which dates back to 2005, and was amended in September of 2011 reaffirming the property’s parking lot status. But if you’ve been publishing a Chicago architecture blog for the last 14 years, you might know how to find something else — An application filed a few months earlier asking for permission to ditch the parking lot and build a skyscraper. It went to the city’s zoning committee and was never heard from again.

In 2013, Crain’s Chicago Business reported that the lot went into foreclosure. Cook County tax records from as recently as 2015 show the owner is still Clovis Investment, the company that filed the application for the skyscraper four years earlier.

Diagram of 178 West Randolph Street

Diagram of 180 West Randolph Street

The reason this comes up is that two spies and Twitter follower @vidlerd alerted us to the presence of soil sampling rigs in the parking lot last week. As you know, those drills don’t just pull up plugs of earth to be examined by experts to help determine what kind of building can be built in a particular location. They also plant the seeds of future skyscrapers.

We can’t say for certain that the plan introduced to city council just about six years ago is what’s in the crystal ball for 180 West Randolph, but it gives us a starting point, and an idea of what is possible. Owners change. Developers change. Architects change. But someone is writing checks for soil sampling, which means something is afoot. So here’s the breakdown on the most recent plan we could dig up:

  • Architecture firm: Studio D Architecture
  • Maximum height: 430 feet
  • Maximum length: 174 feet, eight inches
  • Maximim width: 80 feet
  • Floors: 39
  • Current F.A.R.: 0.10
  • Requested F.A.R.: 20.9
  • Hotel rooms: 200 maximum
  • Residences: 140 maximum
  • Retail space: 2,000 square feet
  • Parking: 338 spaces
  • Loading docks: two

Location: 178 West Randolph Street, 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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