The Randolph/Fulton Market Association, a community group that represents local businesses on the Near West Side is seeking some answers from Robert De Niro regarding Nobu Hospitality's plans to build a hotel and restaurant near Peoria and Randolph. The current zoning for the location would allow for a restaurant, but not a hotel, and the organization says Nobu issued its press release announcing the new development without presenting the proposal to the community first. Roger Romanelli, Executive Director of the RFMA says that this is the first time a developer has issued a press release for a West Loop project that they have never seen. The organization was initially approached by the Nobu development team last year when a proposal was slated to be presented on October 1, but the developer pulled the plan "off the table" before it was ever presented.
According to Romanelli, after the Nobu team bailed out on presenting their proposal, his organization was told that the developers needed to do more research and would reveal the proposal at a later time. And that later time came last week when Nobu Hospitality officially announced its plans to set up shop in the West Loop via press release. The community group fired back with a press release of their own, and in it the organization directly appeals to Robert DeNiro for answers:
Chicago business and community leaders seek a written explanation from film actor Robert De Niro and his Nobu Company regarding their proposed 155-unit hotel/restaurant complex on the northeast corner of Randolph and Peoria Streets...The zoning doesn't allow a massive hotel/restaurant development or allow any hotel units by right. In fact, building construction is limited to about 30,000 sqft., far below the approximate 100,000 sqft. that Nobu would need. Near Westside leaders are asking: How can Mr. De Niro and Nobu propose a development if the zoning doesn't allow it? Romanelli says that his organization and the neighborhood would gladly welcome a Nobu restaurant with open arms, but they are not sure that the empty lot in the northeast corner of Randolph and Peoria is the best location for a hotel. And by appealing directly to the Academy Award-winning actor, Romanelli says that the organization hopes to bring the conversation "from the hollywood level to the local/community level".
· Nobu Officially Confirms West Loop Hotel For 2016 Opening [Curbed Chicago]