Loop Plot Zoned For a 600-Foot Tower Getting a 140-foot Hotel

There was a time when we’d sit in the Starbucks in the Hotel Allegro, write stories about architecture, and gaze through the rain wondering what might become of the surface parking lot next to the wonderful Randolph Tower (188 West Randolph Street).

180 West Randolph Street
180 West Randolph Street

The wondering is now over, as 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly has told his constituents that the West Loop’s Convexity Properties wants to put up a glassy new hotel there at 180 West Randolph Street.

In 2016 we told you about a proposal to put a 430-foo-tall, 39-story hotel in this location, and several of our Loop Spies spied soil-sampling rigs drilling into the asphalt to find out what lurks below.  Obviously the previous hotel didn’t happen, or you wouldn’t be reading this.

Wedged between the Randolph Tower by Karl M. Vizthum and Company, and the State of Illinois Building at 160 North LaSalle, we were hoping for something a little more ornate.  A little more terra cotta.  A little more Chicago.  But this proposal seems innocent enough.

May 2019 diagram of 180 West Randolph
May 2019 diagram of 180 West Randolph

It’s short for the Loop, especially considering the current demand for hotel rooms.  But that means it won’t block too much light, and won’t steal the show from its neighbors, or the magnificent Hotel Allegro across the street.  It’s going to be clad in glass, so with any luck it’ll reflect its venerable neighbors, or at least the neon and giltz of the Cadillac Palace Theater.

May 2019 rendering of 180 West Randolph
May 2019 rendering of 180 West Randolph

While the new hotel hosts out-of-town theater-goers on the weekends, its position a block from both City Hall and the Thompson Center means it’ll be useful for lobbyists and others who need proximity to the halls of power Monday through Friday.

This project is only going to be 13 stories tall.  The plot it’s on is currently zoned Parking Planned Development 997.  (Yep, “Parking Planned Development” is a thing.) But the underlying zoning allows this to be a 600-foot-tall skyscraper, so no rings need to be kissed at City Hall.  It should fly under the radar in a minor flurry of paperwork before going to Planning, Zoning, and eventually City Council.

  • Address: 180 West Randolph Street
  • Developer: Convexity Properties
  • Architecture firm: DLR Group (Minneapolis)
  • Size: 169,500 square feet
  • Zoning: PPD-997 → DC-16
  • Floor area ratio: 11.5
  • Stories: 13
  • Maximum height: 140 feet
  • Hotel rooms: 310 
  • Double queens: 70
  • Single kings: 234
  • King suites: 6
  • Meeting space: 2,500 square feet
  • Automobile parking: none
  • Hotel access: via West Randolph Street
  • Loading access: Via West Couch Place, half a block north
  • The current bicycle lane that runs in front of this property will remain where it is, but be raised to keep people from parking on it. 
  • The bike lane will be between the hotel and the loading zone, but separated by a three foot buffer.

Location: 180 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 chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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