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The soon-to-open Ace Hotel takes shape in Chicago’s Fulton Market District

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The exterior of the 159-room hotel project is just about complete

Jay Koziarz

Nearly three years in the making, Chicago’s under-construction Ace Hotel is entering the home stretch as it continues preparations to welcome its first guests. While the Fulton Market location of the Portland-based hotel chain won’t officially open its doors until this autumn, the recent removal of construction fencing at 311 N. Morgan Street provides an unobstructed view of the new development’s exterior.

Designed by Chicago architecture firm GREC, the Ace is arranged in kind of a short ‘H’ with its lower central portion bookended by a taller glass and concrete mass to the north and the brick facade of an existing industrial building forming its southern wing. While the preservation of the older building is a nice nod to Fulton Market’s past, the remainder of the building is more International Style—almost Bauhaus—in its design.

The Ace is expected to feature 159 guest rooms ranging between 275 and 800 square feet in size. The project will also include 30 below grade parking spaces and ground floor retail space reserved for a yet to be named restaurant concept and the Midwest’s first Stumptown Coffee Roasters location. Meanwhile, a rooftop terrace with a full service bar will provide Fulton Market guests and locals yet another outdoor venue to sip craft cocktails.

Jay Koziarz
Jay Koziarz
Jay Koziarz
Jay Koziarz

The Ace comes from busy West Loop developer Sterling Bay—the same group behind the conversion of Fulton Market Cold Storage into the Google-anchored offices at 1K Fulton, McDonald’s upcoming West Loop headquarters, and the future home of Dyson and Glassdoor at Fulton West.

While it was revealed by Crain’s in December that Sterling Bay had tapped a commercial brokerage firm to find a buyer for the yet-to-open Ace Hotel, no such deal has so far been announced. The developer also recently filed a zoning application with the City of Chicago for a 19-story extended stay hotel just west of the aforementioned McDonald’s project.

The Fulton Market corridor of the West Loop gained the attention of Chicago’s hospitality industry in 2014 with the opening of the Soho House on Green Street. With more high-tech corporate jobs expected to move to the neighborhood, future hoteliers anticipate a surge in business travelers. Other projects proposed to meet the area’s rising demand include developments under the boutique Nobu, Hoxton, and Equinox banners.