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After breaking ground last year, hotel project near Union Station still sits dormant

Alderman Reilly says he’s been working with the Planning Department to improve the design

There’s been little action at 320 S. Clinton Street for over a year.
Photo courtesy Steve Vance

The 24-story, 615-room Toyoko Inn Hotel development slated for a parking lot near Chicago’s Union Station has once again caught the attention of 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly for its apparent lack of construction progress.

Last spring, when the site’s zoning was about to expire after six years of inactivity, Toyoko’s developers finally pulled permits to begin foundation work. At the time, Reilly introduced a legislative “reset” to re-vet the proposal, which won approval before he took office. Crews managed to drill the building’s underground caissons, but the lot at 320 S. Clinton Street has seen little activity since.

On Thursday, Steve Vance of Chicago Cityscape shared images of the abandoned site on Twitter. Alderman Reilly chimed in with additional information, writing that he will look into the matter with the city’s Planning and Building departments.

Reilly added that he had worked with planner to improve the hotel’s original design, which he called “God awful.”

However, even with recent changes, the design of Chicago’s Toyoko Inn Hotel was always a bit of mystery. So far, the only public image of the project is a rough elevation drawing from 2011 meeting. According to a 2016 zoning adjustment, the hotel’s cladding changed from precast concrete to metallic panels.

Alderman Reilly’s office did not respond to a request for comment regarding his plan to get the project back on track or the details of the revised design.

The Toyoko brand currently operates more than 200 hotels in Japan, Korea, Cambodia, and the Philippines. In addition to its glacier-slow move into the Chicago market, the company is working on expansions in New York, Germany, and France.

The 615-room project isn’t the only significant hotel development headed to the area. A joint venture between Riverside Investment & Development and Convexity Properties won city approval last fall to convert the upper levels of Chicago’s Union Station into two hotels with a combined 400 guest rooms.