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281-room South Loop high-rise hotel quietly starts construction

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The upcoming building at 1101 S. Wabash is expected to rise 306 feet

The South Loop construction boom continues as crews and equipment arrive on-scene to prepare the southeast corner of Wabash and 11th Street for a new 306-foot, 281-key hotel tower. Developed by Hinsdale-based S.B. Yen Management Group and penned by local architect Lothan Van Hook DeStefano, the upcoming building would contain a 196-room Homewood Hilton, a separate 85-room extended stay component, 3,500 square feet of ground floor retail, and garage parking for 57 vehicles.

The plan was last shown to South Loop neighbors as a courtesy in November 2015. While a few snapshots from that presentation were posted online, it’s possible that the design of the glassy, blue-green tower with its protruding bay windows and neo-mansard roof may have evolved since then. Overall height and room count, however, will remain the same.

Because the project is being built as-of-right (with no changes to the site’s underlying zoning), the tower has moved forward relatively quietly under the public radar. That said, 1101 S. Wabash is listed on the November Chicago Plan Commission agenda were it will be seeking a routine approval under the Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection Ordinance.

With that meeting planned for this Thursday, the recent arrival of pile-driving equipment is somewhat puzzling. There also appears to have been no online permit activity at 1101 S. Wabash since the two-story parking garage that previously occupied the site was OK’d for demolition back in mid January. Puzzling indeed.