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Will Virgin Hotel Take The Plunge?; Launch of 500 'Re-Imagined' Condos

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THE LOOP— Word from Hotel Chatter is that Richard Branson still plans on opening the world's first Virgin Hotel at the Old Dearborn Bank Building. Contradictory rumors have been swirling for the past several months, with suggestion that the brand had completely stalled. Considering construction was supposed to have begun last May with an early 2013 opening, speculation is inevitable. Branson recently spoke on the matter, stressing his loyalty to the Chicago plan and pointing to an early 2014 opening. Construction may start in March. [CurbedWire Inbox, Hotel Chatter]

SOUTH LOOP— Related Midwest bought a 500+ unit block of unsold South Loop condos back in the summer, and a press release is announcing a relaunch under a new banner. Instead three buildings under the Museum Park tag, they're now known as The Grant, Adler Place, and Harbor View, or collectively, South Loop Luxury by Related. Is that really necessary? Early sales interest is, apparently, strong. And, of course, everyone involved is as excited as can be. The Grant is the "marquee" product, with units priced to over $2M, but basic one-beds start in the low-200s at the other towers. [CurbedWire Inbox]