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Long-dormant budget-friendly hotel project near Union Station shows signs of life

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The 24-story Toyoko Inn development was approved by the city six years ago

The parking lot at 320 S. Clinton Street.
Google Street View

After sitting idle for what seemed like ages, a 24-story hotel development earned a surprise construction permit on Wednesday. Dubbed the Toyoko Inn Hotel, the project will replace a downtown surface lot at 320 S. Clinton Street with up to 615 guest rooms and on-site parking for 123 cars.

Discussed at a public meeting in 2011 and granted city approval the following year, the proposed high-rise slipped below most people’s radar. Despite the perceived lack of activity, the hotel was quietly creeping forward.

An older, 2011 drawing of Chicago’s Toyoko Inn Hotel. Pictured center, the project wedges itself between two existing office buildings on Clinton.
Hotel Architect DPC

In 2016, Chicago-based project designer Richard Kalb of Hotel Architect DPC received a zoning adjustment which included a change in cladding material from precast concrete to metallic panels. In 2017, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance related to the hotel’s alleyway access.

According to the Japanese-based chain’s official website, the Toyoko Inn brand specializes in “comfortable three-star economy” lodging and currently operates 247 hotels in its home country plus seven more in Korea and one in Cambodia. In addition to its upcoming move into the Chicago market, the company plans locations in New York, Atlanta, Frankfurt, and Marseilles, France.

There’s no word yet regarding when the new building at 320 S. Clinton is expected to open. With the renovation of the hulking Old Post Office underway and a $1 billion redevelopment of Union Station in the works, the southwest corner of Chicago’s Loop will have no shortage of potential lodgers in the coming years.

Kalb could not be reached immediately for comment.