After a feeding frenzy that lasted a few years, recently there has been a slight downtick in the ferocity of the development of new hotels in downtown Chicago. It looks like developers are getting their second wind.
Hilton is the latest brand out of the gate with plans to put mints on pillows in The Loop. It wants to plant two flags at 226 West Jackson Boulevard. You may know it as the former headquarters of the City Colleges of Chicago. Hilton is probably more interested in the fact that it is 91 ½ feet away from the Willis Tower.
In what we used to call a hotel sandwich, but should probably speak of as a bunk bed arrangement, the idea is to put a Hilton Garden Inn on the lower floors, and a Canopy hotel on top. Which all makes perfect sense: Of course you’d put a canopy over a garden. The other way around would rain carrots on your guests.
No permits have been issued just yet, but word on the street is that the developer wants to get stuck in right away transforming the 14-story office building.
Early last year, City Colleges announced that the building would be redeveloped as apartments, but obviously that plan didn’t make the grade.
This isn’t 226’s first rodeo as a commercial building. Back when it opened for business in 1904, the Frost and Granger-designed building was known as the Chicago Northwestern Office Building.