Today we’re checking in on 168 North Michigan, because it looks like it will be a long time before anyone else checks in at the hotel that’s supposed to be going in this space.
168 has been the subject of many big plans, and a metric ton of pigeon droppings, ever since Greece’s Atlantic Bank left the building close to a decade ago. It’s currently being converted into a 200+ room “independent lifestyle luxury hotel” called Hotel Julian by brave W.E. O’Neil hardhats at the behest of River North’s Oxford Capital and New York’s Quadrum Global.
When complete, the Hirsch Associates-designed renovation will fill the building with 200 hotel rooms, five additional floors of height, and a new restaurant. But as you can see from the photo above sent in by Loop Spy Joel, there’s a lot of work to be done, at least on the outside.
That restaurant is one of the major events going on behind the scenes here. Because while the outside of the building doesn’t look like it’s changed much at all since the Daley administration, city paperwork shows there’s all kinds of stuff going on inside.
The old elevators were decommissioned, and permits for a new bank of elevators were issued back in July. In mid-September, the city granted permission to build out that new restaurant. And at the end of that month, the renovation plans were rejiggered to allow the addition of another eight guest rooms on the second floor, which will be awesome for tourists who are also fans of taxi horns. But if the nuns living in the cloister next door can get used to it, anyone can.
At one time the restaurant was going to be called Millennium Kitchen and be helmed by early Iron Chef competitor and rumored White House chef candidate David Burke. But that was years ago, back when this was going to be a Hotel Indigo. Quadrum is aiming for a 2018 opening for this property, so we might find out what’s going on sooner rather than later. Assuming that facade can get patched up in a hurry.