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Old Olympia Building SRO to see new life as boutique hotel

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The former single room occupancy (SRO) apartments will be resurrected as the FOUND Hotel

A plan to convert River North’s somewhat neglected Olympia Building into a new boutique hotel is underway thanks to the project receiving its first building permit late last week. Located at 611 N. Wells, the older four-story structure was previously housed single room occupancy (SRO) apartments and the shuttered Kan Zaman Lebanese eatery. Under the current plan, the existing building will be rebranded as the FOUND Hotel and is expected to contain 60 guest rooms and a new bar and restaurant.

"The intent is to not get in the way of the building," explained George Sorich of NORR Architects. "We are bringing back and restoring some of the simple cast iron and tin cladding details."

Workers have already removed the front-mounted fire escape that once overwhelmed the building's Wells facade and are in the process of bringing the structure up to current life safety standards. All new windows are also on tap as part of the conversion.

Situated in the heart of River of River North’s high-rise construction boom, FOUND is within steps of the dueling residential towers currently racing skyward at 640 N. Wells and 167 W. Erie.