Plans continue to advance for the proposed Hilton Garden Inn, slated for a narrow site between the Chicago Motor Club Building and the Church of Christian Scientists. A month and a half after renderings of the project first hit the scene, developer GDS Companies and GREC Architects were on hand to present their final plans at last night's community meeting. The 27-story hotel will house 191 rooms and rise to an approximate height of 222 feet at 66 East Wacker Place. It is the latest entry to an increasingly crowded field of hotel-related projects in the area, including planned conversions of the old Crain Communications Building, Motor Club, and Dearborn Bank buildings. The development team has taken care to maintain the architectural integrity of the Motor Club Building and Church of Christian Scientists, both of which are historic landmarks.
Architect David Ervin, Principal at GREC Architects, offered some insight into the design, including the quirky western facade. Why, for instance, are there no windows? Due to the site's unique location, it made more sense to position the hotel rooms at the northern and southern ends of the building, which in turn makes it impractical to have fenestration on the western facade. In addition, the owner of the property, Rhode-Island based Magna Hospitality Group, has elected not to purchase the air rights above the neighboring church, so any western views would be blocked if a highrise ever replaces the church. To help blunt the effect of a blank wall, the design team broke the facade up into a mosaic of gray and black-toned metal panels. At street level, the base of the building will be clad in limestone as a reference to the Motor Club Building. Amenities are limited and include a bar/restaurant, fitness center, and a business center. If everything shakes out as planned, the new hotel could open by Spring 2015.
·Complete Hilton Garden Inn coverage [Curbed Chicago]