Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hyatt Hotel Coming to Harper Court

posted by chicago pop

The symbol of the University of Chicago is, being situated in a city famous for having once burnt to the ground, a phoenix. The symbolism remains vital, as the hotel that Hyde Park almost got in the 5th Ward on Stony Island and 58th Street will now be resurrected and take shape on the site of the old Harper Court, on Harper at 52nd.

The 53rd Street renaissance continues at a dizzying pace.

From Curbed Chicago:

Harper Court Partners released some details this morning about the hotel operator for Hyde Park's Harper Court. Olympia Chicago LLC and Smart Hotels, a company that specializes in campus hotels, have been selected to build and operate Hyatt Place Chicago @ Hyde Park. The six-story, 130-room hotel will be located on Harper, just north of 52nd Place, according to Christopher Dillion from Vermilion Development. The hotel, which is set to open in 2013, will feature underground parking, a restaurant, wine bar, pool, and fitness facilities....

From Crain's Chicago Business:

“A quality hotel has been a longstanding need for the community,” Dave Cocagne, president of Chicago-based Vermilion, says in the statement. “It will play a key role in the development of the 53rd Street corridor.”

Financing for the hotel is being provided by Recovery Zone Facility Bonds to be issued by the Illinois Finance Authority. Smart specializes in campus hotels, though no properties are identified on the company’s website, while Olympia operates 16 hotels, according to Vermilion’s press release.

Vermilion tapped the Smart Hotels-Olympia venture after issuing a request for proposals from hoteliers last fall.

Mr. Cocagne in January said Vermilion had letters of intent for 60% of the project’s roughly 80,000 square feet of retail space. The first phase, which has a roughly $100-million budget, is to include the hotel, retail and a 150,000-square-foot office building to be used at least partially by the university.

And, from the developers themselves:

Smart Hotels/Olympia Chicago LLC has been selected to build and operate the hotel, planned for Harper Avenue, just north of 53rd Street. Plans call for the LEED-designed hotel to have approximately 130 rooms, [and be] a destination on evenings and weekends, as well as during the work week.

Ed Small, President of Smart Hotels, said his team looks forward to presenting the preliminary hotel design to the community in March.

"This is an outstanding opportunity for us to bring a quality, environmentally-friendly hotel to Hyde Park," Small said. "The University, the City, IFA and MB Financial did extraordinary work to help us secure the project financing."

Hyatt Place Chicago @ Hyde Park is scheduled to open in 2013, to coincide with Phase I of the Harper Court redevelopment, which will also include retail, office, and outdoor spaces. Chicago-based LEgat Architects has been engaged to design the hotel.

The Olympia Companies has been in operation since 1969 and currently operates 16 hotel properties.

"We are excited to extent our portfolio of hotels to such a dynamic community and world-class university," said Kevin Mahaney, President and CEO of The Olympia Companies.

25 comments:

David Farley said...

No concern about drunken bar mitzvahs? We need a study to determine how this will change the weather patterns in E. Hyde Park.

65th & Woodlawn said...

Let's see em try to vote 53rd St dry!

Lilithcat said...

This is terrible. The "Sorry, there's no good place for you to stay in the neighborhood" excuse to out-of-town relatives won't work anymore! What ever were they thinking?

Greg said...

This will most certainly affect someone's viewshed someplace. Not to mention redirecting the wind in ways nobody can predict. Clearly all plans need to cleared and approved by a special "committe"... after they've grown well tired of screaming and demanding the impossible...

TA said...

Chicago Pop - is there any way to set up blogger to have a share link/retweet button at the bottom of each post? I'm planning on re-tweeting this anyway, but having a button for the post would be great and might get you more hits.

This is fantastic news and this location might be better than the Stony Island locale anyway since there is more opportunity for commercial development around the hotel at 53rd.

Chason said...

TA, I very often tweet HPP stories, with the hashtag #HydeParkProgress for those posts and related content (I often use it for HP dev projects I find on Curbed Chicago, too). You should do the same :)

Jeff said...

The best part is that there will likely be a lot more restaurants near the hotel that can draw business away from Medici. Heh, heh.

chicago pop said...

Dudes, you're persuading me to get hip and accessorize this blog. Look out.

chicago pop said...

Look to the lower left, gents.

HPP Facebook page also coming up.

GF said...

What great news.

I've been wondering where all the "preservationists" have gone now that demo work has started at Doctors Hospital. Surely they weren't just using historic preservation as an excuse to keep a hotel out of their backyards.

David Farley said...

In other news, the nail salon that was going into the old Hookah Lounge space on 55th St seems to have morphed into a comic book store. Hooray!

Greg said...

When did Noon Hookah lounge close??

Vanessa D. Alexander said...

I grew up in Chicago. Always lived on the South side. Still miss it. On the other hand, I'm sorry to hear Hyde Park is losing the balance of being a unique place to live, work and enjoy something that is (sadly)disappearing all over--small shops and intimate, creative places to hang out in urban cities.

I know people from all over the world love to visit Hyde Park and having a place to stay is cool. But wow, it brings the reality home that things have changed drastically since I left.

I was in Chicago last summer but couldn't make it to Hyde Park. Plan to visit this Summer. Still love Chi! No place like it.

Chason said...

You will have to excuse the fact that I have only lived in Hyde Park for three and a half years, but it seems the balance has been upset for some time, and it isn't chain hotels or new development upsetting the balance. It's an inept alderman, and incredibly restrictive zoning laws. It's a business community that chokes development before it even begins, like when Laura Greene brought her barcade idea to Hyde Park and the owners of Futons and More and Valois (I did not go back to double check, but I believe that it was these two) told her that "no one in Hyde Park drinks" and "people don't like the idea of a bar in a college neighborhood." It is the NIMBYs who let buildings like St. Stephens sit vacant and dilapidated for years because they don't want construction noise or to have to park down the block.

Borders didn't kill the bookstores on 57th. Despite four Subways, a Jimmy Johns, and a Potbelly, Z&H is doing excellent business. The two Starbucks have not forced out Third World Cafe, Istria (the one on 57th was due to Metra hiking up rent), and probably not Backstory (I would like to think that was Robust and Z&H in a beautiful display of the market rewarding quality). Yes, the balance is upset. No, it is not the Hyatt. It is not the Harper Court redevelopment. It is not the new movie theatre or Five Guys. It isn't Starbucks or Borders (RIP) or Subway. The problem is that none of these little shops and cafes are inquiring about Hyde Park, and those who are are being stopped at the gate by a toxic mentality that is going to perpetuate the culture of mediocrity that has a hold on this very promising neighborhood.

Yes, shops at Harper Court were displaced, and some closed. Not all good things come without casualties. Having never eaten there, I cannot mourn Dixie Kitchen as many do, both as a place with great food and a symbol of the Hyde Park of yore, because I never ate there. This development, though, is not some heartless glass tower squashing the good little shops of Hyde Park. This is development, and retail and commercial potential, that this neighborhood needs.

The Hyatt will be excellent for tourism, too. People do not seem to visit "Hyde Park." They visit the MSI, or tour the University, or take a drive past Obama's block, and then head right back downtown. They should be doing more than this. They should be eating at Z&H, or thumbing through books in Powell's. It will help encourage people to spend some time in Hyde Park if they have somewhere to stay that isn't that cesspool of a Ramada along the lake.

Uh oh. That became a rant.

Richard Gill said...

Hey, Chason -

If that was a rant, I don't mind. You basically summarized much of what this blog has been saying and trying to remedy.

If they weren't so hard to find, establishments such as Powell's and Z&H (and small Hyde Park retailers in general) might stand a chance of attracting tourists.

One awful obstruction is that DO NOT ENTER (aka VISITORS STAY OUT) sign for westbound 57th Street at Stony Island. We have attempted to re-open 57th to westbound traffic, and were pretty close, but once again Alderman Hairston allowed a few self-indulged objectors to make her backbone buckle. The street remains closed. It wasn't always closed, and it need not remain that way. Re-opening it would make a world of difference.

Chason said...

Richard,

I couldn't agree more with all your points, the issue of finding businesses especially. A friend recently told me that, after living here for four years and often traveling to go to the north side to find replacement strings for her cello, that there is an instrument repair shop in the Hyde Park Bank Building. She had absolutely no idea, and only found out because she happened to mention her need to a professor who knew of the store. Even the store owner called herself Hyde Park's best kept secret, because no one knows she is there!
It made me wonder especially what organizations like the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce are doing for the community...

And, on a note related to the post, the Herald has already published a piece admonishing the design of the hotel...

chicago pop said...

Interesting discussion above. On the instrument repair shop that keeps itself secret, there is something going on there. I'm not sure what, but it's about businesses that don't really want to do business, or not too much. Some of those are OK, and have a place, but when it comes to define a general business culture, it gets weird. (getting back to the 'barcade' story).

rdb said...

Random thoughts:

1) I too was terribly amused (but not at all surprised) by the negative reactions quoted in the Herald. Would we expect anything else from the Herald? The University (and the developer) would do themselves a favor by making the renderings widely available on the Internettubes thingie, assuming they are not totally hideous.

2) How long before we start hearing complaints that the hotel is too expensive, and therefore exclusionary? Last year I had occasion to stay the Penn campus hotel. On short notice, that sucker was almost $400 a night.

3) It's interesting to note that, had 55th Street not been demolished and re-zoned and rebuilt residential all those decades ago, this would be happening on the front door of the Golden Rectangle. As it stands, the region between 55th and 59th will now have the chance to become the sleepy backwater many of its activist residents seem to want it to be.

Elizabeth Fama said...

Just to clarify: First Aid Comics is moving from 53rd Street to the old Hookah Lounge location in May. The rent is higher, but James Nurss hopes that the increased foot traffic from being in a ground-level storefront will make all the difference.

It's a hip local business, so get out there and buy comics, guys!

Chason said...

Great news about First Aid! Definitely don't need a nail salon there... I just hope they can survive potential rent issues with MAC (I believe that is what sent Noon Hookah packing?)

Lilithcat said...

What's wrong with a nail salon? I've nothing against First Aid comics, but some of us prefer a good mani/pedi!

Chason said...

My rationale there is that Big Girl Makeup Bar and Spa a few blocks away seems to be doing very well, and I believe many of the salons in the neighborhood offer at least basic mani/pedi services, and this particular storefront is next door to a salon. First Aid, in addition to being able to benefit from the foot traffic at the new location in a way they can't from their current home, is more likely to attract on the fly customers than a nail salon. Having First Aid in that storefront as opposed to a salon just seems like a better use of space.

Naomi Klionsky said...

I am only bummed that I'm all done with my kids' bar and bat mitzvahs, not for drunken party locale, but for convenient place for relatives to stay.

Also, that coffee shop that took over from Istria-- Cafe 57-- was really hopping today. Just like in a normal neighborhood.

Elizabeth Fama said...

Naomi and others: we've heard from a lot of people how wonderfully the new management is doing with the old Istria Cafe. If you're a fan and would like to write up a little article (maybe interview the owner about her experience taking over the shop), feel free to submit it to Chicago Pop as a guest post. Chicago.Pop@gmail.com.

Elizabeth said...

My understanding is Noon Hookah was (also?) having trouble with the no-smoking-in-places-where-food-is-served ordinance. Without their food, they weren't going to make enough money for rent, and without the hookahs, well, they're not a hookah place anymore.