Controversial Old Town Hotel Plan Back In Play

It’s been over four years since we told you that the city had approved a plan to replace the venerable O’Brien’s restaurant on North Wells Street with a 154-foot-tall hotel.  Now the through-block project is back in City Hall again, with some minor tweaks.

Drawing of 1520 North Wells
June 2016 Drawing of 1520 North Wells

According to a new filing with the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards, the hotel at 1520 North Wells Street will now be 151 feet tall, down from 154 feet.  It will have 203 hotel rooms, up from 190; 47 parking spaces, up from 45; and three single-family homes in the back on North Wieland Street, down from four in the previously-approved plan.

This project designed by Pappageorge Haymes replaces the O’Brien’s restaurant building, a three-story residential building to the south on Wells Street, a 2 ½-story residential building to the north on Wieland Street, and the big parking lot out back.  A Wells Street retail store to the north that is also part of this property will not be demolished.

Location: 1520 North Wells Street, Old Town

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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