Last night at a public meeting hosted by the Prairie District Neighborhood Association, McHugh Development & Construction and architect Joseph Antunovich presented their plan for a new hotel and data center to be built at Michigan Avenue and Cermak, just across the street from another hotel and data center being planned by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (McPier). Combined, both projects will represent a massive expansion of the McCormick Place area. The 2.5-acre McHugh project is broken up into 3 sub-areas, namely the data center on Indiana Avenue, the hotel at 111 East Cermak, and retail space along Michigan Avenue. Assuming a smooth approval process, the data center could break ground as soon as this November, with the whole project being completed in the summer of 2017.
The centerpiece of the project, at least visually, is the 500 room, 320' tall hotel tower which will be operated by Chicago's First Hospitality Group and, though hotel brands haven't been decided, will feature 3 separate flags (extended stay and upscale boutique were two concepts mentioned). The hotel itself will include 15,000 square feet of retail space, including a two story restaurant buildout on the northeast corner.
Around the corner on Indiana Avenue, a six story data center will be built as well, with 2,500 square feet of the first floor being dedicated for active office space with large windows onto the street, a move designed to maintain a sense of activity throughout the entire block rather than letting the bunker-like security requirements of data centers turn the building into a pedestrian "dead zone." At the southeast corner of the block, the historic Rambler Building will be restored under the supervision of the Landmark Commission and will serve as the main entrance to the data center, a parking deck, and a storefront coffee shop. The remaining streetfront windows of the building will be used to showcase local artwork from the community.
The final component of the project is the restoration of the historic building at 2515 South Michigan Avenue. Antunovich said that when he first saw the building, most recently a surplus furniture wholesaler, he could hardly believe it was a historic landmark. The building will be restored to its original luster, and will be combined with the hotel structure to provide an additional 31,904 square feet of retail and commercial space.
The community response to the project seemed largely positive, though recent Prairie District neighborhood meetings have made apparent a certain tension among the residents of the once-sleepy neighborhood in regard to its sudden escalation into a major event and entertainment district. Both McHugh and Antunovich believe this project will be a catalyst for further development and restoration along the historic Motor Row stretch of Michigan Avenue, as well as serving as the gateway to the McCormick Place district along Cermak.
·Here Now, Even More Renderings For the New McCormick Hotel [Curbed Chicago]
·Here's Another New McCormick Place Hotel On The Way [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous McCormick Place coverage [Curbed Chicago]