In a somewhat unusual move, a Chicago alderman is obstructing a proposed development not based on height, density, or traffic, but over its poor aesthetics. Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) has reportedly delayed the City Council vote to approve a new seven-story hotel slated to replace a gas station at the southeast corner of North and Ashland in Wicker Park until the developer comes back to him with a better-looking design.
Approved by the Chicago Plan Commission in February, the latest design from property owner George Nediyakalayil and architect Ronald Vari already showed considerable revisions over what was publicly presented to neighbors last year. The 99-room project ditched the precast concrete slabs of its previous iteration in favor of a metal-clad facade, additional windows, and a corner cut-out with a bit of new landscaping.
These changes were apparently not enough to win over Hopkins. "We requested one final round of aesthetic improvements," the Alderman told DNAinfo’s Alisa Hauser on Monday. "It still doesn’t look like it is at home in Wicker Park and Noble Square. It looks more suburban and we are trying to get away from that ... It’s still just not an attractive building by most people’s standards."
Ald. Hopkins promised to post renderings on his website for community comment if and when an updated design is sent his way. Meanwhile, Nediyakalayil claims that he has a signed letter of intent from Hyatt to anchor the proposed development.
- Proposed Wicker Hotel's Look Still Too 'Suburban,' Alderman Says [DNAinfo]
- Wicker Park hotel approved by Chicago Plan Commission [Curbed Chicago]
- Hotel slated for Wicker Park gas station reintroduced to neighbors [Curbed Chicago]