Alderman Kills Hotel Expansion, Points Finger at Hotel

Serial hotel killer Brendan Reilly has struck again. The 42nd Ward alderman just clamped a giant neon No Vacancy sign on plans to expand the Gold Coast’s Hotel Dana along East Erie Street.

Rendering of the Dana Hotel's Erie Street expansion

Rendering of the Dana Hotel’s Erie Street expansion

The plan would have added 178 rooms to the 26-story hotel in a 15-story addition.  In doing so, several early-century residences would have been wiped out.

Mr. Reilly’s main reason for telling Dana to go pound sand is because it is allegedly a bad apple. When the Dana opened on the site of a notorious flophouse, it was the picture of polite gentrification. Now complaints from neighbors make it seem like it’s haunted by the ghosts of the old 666 North State Street.

Reilly’s letter to his constituents about the rejection is delicious in both its candidness and its ferocity.

Dana Hotel’s current curbside operation is a failure.

Neighbors complained that the Dana Hotel is currently doing a “poor” or “apathetic” job managing its curbside frontage, resulting in taxicabs, UBER, limousines, trolleys & charter buses backing-up traffic on both Erie & Dearborn streets.  At the meeting, we were informed that “private charter buses” and “tour buses for music groups” routinely block traffic on the block; have been seen driving the wrong-way on a one-way street to access Hotel lots and then idle with engines running for hours: adjacent to the Dana Hotel’s residential neighbors.

Frankly, reports of new quality-of-life abuses coming from the Dana Hotel property – at the very same time they are seeking community support for their significant expansion – do not surprise me at all.  When the Dana Hotel was in the middle of the Deleterious Impact Public Hearing Process regarding community complaints about its liquor licenses; the City of Chicago and Police continued to receive numerous complaints about ongoing abuses.  And yet, we have received and continue to receive neighborhood complaints regarding the current operations at the Dana Hotel.

While the 42nd Ward is home to tens of thousands of hotel rooms and the majority of hotels in the City of Chicago, we have never received such unprecedented, negative feedback about the impact of one hotel’s operations on the surrounding neighborhood.  This is truly a first.

We’re sad to hear that the Dana isn’t what it once was, or what it could be. And certainly can’t blame Mr. Reilly for potting this one in the “nope” bin.

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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