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New 615-room hotel breaks ground near Union Station despite aldermanic zoning challenge

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Construction on the new Toyoko Inn Hotel is underway at 320 S. Clinton Street

Jay Koziarz

A 24-story hotel project near Chicago’s Union Station is pressing forward despite a move from the local alderman to delay construction and bring the developers back to the negotiating table.

After years of inactivity, the 615-room Toyoko Inn Hotel at 320 S. Clinton Street showed new signs of life with the issuance of a construction permit on April 11. Just one week later, 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly introduced a measure with the City Clerk to strip the high-rise development of its 2012 zoning.

A 2011 drawing of Chicago’s Toyoko Inn Hotel. Pictured center, the project wedges itself between two existing buildings.
Hotel Architect DPC

If approved by the Chicago City Council, this legislative “reset” would allow Alderman Reilly to completely re-vet the proposal. The prior plan was green-lit when the downtown site was located within former Alderman Bob Fioretti’s 2nd Ward.

Under the terms of its Planned Development (PD) document, the project’s zoning entitlements were set to expire after six years—or on April 24, 2018—unless substantial construction took place. Reilly’s ordinance was a way to “formalize” the site’s automatic reversion back its old designation, according to Crain’s.

While it’s unclear if the Toyoko’s developers managed to squeak under the city’s six-year deadline, it’s obvious that construction is underway now. The old parking lot at 320 S. Clinton Street has been overrun by crews and machinery to drill the hotel’s tube-like caisson foundation system.

It remains to be seen if Alderman Reilly will continue his push to down-zone Chicago’s Toyoko Inn Hotel. Such a move would halt construction and would limit the scope of the project to a substantially smaller building unless the developers chose to restart the zoning process from square one.

A call to the 42nd Ward office revealed that Alderman Reilly was out of town and unavailable for comment.

Jay Koziarz
Jay Koziarz