Dana Hotel’s Erie Backside Expansion Plan

We’ve long been a fan of the Dana Hotel (660 North State Street).  Even before its rooftop lounge was the staging area for drinks before my clandestine, not-exactly-authorized wedding at Holy Name Cathedral, it was one of our favorite turn-of-the-century projects.  Mostly because it cleaned up a really terrible flophouse that had the even worse address of 666 North State Street, but kept the S.R.O.’s name in a nod to neighborhood history.

But while Dana has always been a beautiful construction, with her long lines, superior posture, and shiny eastward expression, she’s also been a two-faced creature.  Westward, she casts a stony, blank, disinterested stare across the rest of the Cathedral District, like pretty much every teen-age girl from every Smith’s song you listened to in college.

And like pretty much every teen-age girl from every Dead Milkmen song you listened to in college, her stony facade will soon make way for a joyous, sparkling, shiny new expression thanks to a 14-story addition anchored to her backside.

Rendering of the Dana Hotel's Erie Street expansion

Rendering of the Dana Hotel’s Erie Street expansion

You may remember that a few years ago there was a plan for a similar expansion.  That one would have been 26 stories, and matched the height of the existing Dana building.  The one making its way through the city’s approval process now is half the size, matching the height of the residential building at 30 West Erie, instead.

You may think this is a case of preserving the historic character of the block, but you’d be wrong.  In spite of its looks, 30 West Erie is a PoMo MoFo.  Opened in 2007 and designed by Hartshorne+Plunkard, it’s only a year older than Dana.  The actual history lies between the two buildings: Three vintage stone piles that range in age from to years.  The Italianate one at 14 East Erie is listed as Code Orange by the City of Chicago for “potentially significant architectural or historical features.”  16 East Erie isn’t orange, but it was built in 1913.  And number 22 is just plain handsome.

But in the eyes of hotel developers, all three pale in comparison with the Dana expansion, which they are temporarily calling “Erie Hotel,” which is a coincidence because way back when, the original Dana Hotel’s name was The Erie Hotel.

Last week 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly held an informational meeting about the project.  We present a selection of images from that meeting below, after the firehose.  If you want to see the entire deck (when did slideshows become “decks,” anyway?), you can download it here.

  • Address: 12-22 East Erie Street
  • Site area: 13,819 square feet
  • Addition size: 111,933 square feet
  • Floor area ratio: 8.1 (5.0 base+bonuses)
  • Height: 163 feet
  • Levels: 15
  • 13th floor? Yep!
  • Hotel rooms: 178

Location: 12-22 East Erie Street, Gold Coast

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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