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  #1  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 1:51 PM
HK Chicago HK Chicago is offline
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CHICAGO | InterContinental North Tower | 850 FT / 259 M | 71 FLOORS | PRO

From chicagotribune.com:

InterContinental plans skyscraper
Hotel/condo tower would reshape part of Magnificent Mile

By Thomas A. Corfman
Tribune staff reporter
Published November 1, 2005


The nondescript north tower of the InterContinental Chicago hotel on Michigan Avenue would be replaced with a 71-story hotel/condominium skyscraper, under a dramatic proposal that would reshape the south end of the Magnificent Mile.

The ambitious plan would not affect the key architectural features of the 42-story Art Deco south tower, which is topped by a Moorish-styled dome, said Laurence Geller, chief executive of Strategic Hotel Capital Inc., which acquired the hotel about seven months ago. The 26-story north tower, notable for its blank concrete exterior along the avenue, was built as a separate hotel in 1961.

The proposal must receive city zoning approval. Construction, which would depend on sales of the high-priced condo units, is not expected to start until mid-2007 at the earliest.

The proposed skyscraper, to be designed by Chicago architect Lucien Lagrange, "adds an elegance" to the historic tower, without a "dwarfing factor," Geller said. "Truthfully, it would replace a building that is not particularly pleasing," he added.

Even so, the new tower is sure to prompt scrutiny by preservationists, concerned about the continued "canyonization" of North Michigan Avenue, and by some Streeterville neighbors, who already feel cramped from the building boom east of the hotel, including plans for two 2,000-foot skyscrapers in the last four months.

But the financial aspects of the plan also are expected to spark questions on Wall Street, even for a company known as an aggressive asset manager. While most hotel owners would only consider development plans for a poorly performing property, Chicago-based Strategic is proposing a redevelopment of a well-performing asset to make it better.

"Strategic is never shy about changing a property type to maximize value," said hotel analyst John Arabia with Newport Beach, Calif.-based Green Street Advisors Inc., who hadn't been briefed on the plan. "It would be a pretty big move."

Strategic paid about $170 million for an 85 percent interest in the 807-room property at 505 N. Michigan Ave. The hotel pulled in almost $6.4 million in the second quarter, accounting for nearly 17 percent of the real estate investment trust's earnings of $37.6 million before interest and other expenses, according to a financial statement. Room rates averaged about $193 a night during the quarter, and the hotel was more than 83 percent occupied.

The new tower would include 150 hotel suites, 310 condos, parking and 11,000 square feet of prime, first-floor retail space. It would replace a building with 477 rooms, reducing the overall number of rooms to 480.

The 330-room historic south tower would receive a $15 million renovation, a key part of a repositioning of the property.

"We're moving it from being a big, bulk group hotel, which is doing very well, into a luxury hotel that will compete against the top end of the market," Geller said.

Strategic, which is represented by prominent zoning attorney Jack Guthman of Shefsky & Froelich Ltd., is filing an application for a planned development Tuesday.

The plans also include construction of a landscaped plaza over a portion of Grand Avenue east of Michigan. And the hotel's entrance would be moved to Illinois Street to reduce congestion on Michigan, Geller said.

The proposed 850-foot tower would be almost twice the height of the historic south tower, which was built in 1929 as the Medinah Athletic Club and is known for its blend of design features inspired by sources that range from ancient Egypt to the Italian Renaissance.

Moreover, some of the city's best-known skyscrapers of that era, including the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower and the McGraw-Hill Building, which was rebuilt in 2000, are within steps of the InterContinental, further highlighting the differences in height.

But key to the new development is the continued strength of the high-end condominium market, which is seemingly overcrowded with projects.

"I believe a building like this on Michigan Avenue is a unique opportunity that stands to segregate itself out from the bulk of the stuff that's being put out there," Geller said

Strategic, which is advised by Chicago-based U.S. Equities Realty Co., has already held talks with several local developers, including LR Development Co. and Magellan Development Group Ltd., he said.


Last edited by Steely Dan; Jan 31, 2006 at 6:34 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 2:01 PM
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looks too much like several other things, including mandarin oriental. But I'm not opposed, of course.
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  #3  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 2:08 PM
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This is great news. Actually, I think I'd prefer an open space instead of the terrible building that is there now. I wonder how successful the condo sales will be. Do people still think Mich Ave. has a certain cache?
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  #4  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 2:13 PM
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There are 2 huge plazas and 2 smaller ones near this hotel. Michigan Avenue doesn't need another one.

Michigan Avenue will always have a cache, it is one of the most unique and popular streets of the world.
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  #5  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 2:21 PM
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condos could sell because of actual mich ave address
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  #6  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 2:38 PM
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i fixed the title
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  #7  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 2:43 PM
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I love that building. As a non-architect, I love the more modern buildings. I know that's not the preferences of some of the other chicago forumers.

Last edited by rgolch; Nov 1, 2005 at 2:59 PM.
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  #8  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 2:58 PM
dvidler dvidler is offline
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It kind of reminds me of the building that was designed for the open lot in front of the NBC Tower along the river. If anyone has that I would love to see a comparison.

But I do like the building
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  #9  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 3:00 PM
chicubs111 chicubs111 is offline
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I think the building is pretty damn nice....There is also a street side image of the building on the tribune website.
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  #10  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 3:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvidler
It kind of reminds me of the building that was designed for the open lot in front of the NBC Tower along the river.
that was my very first impression as well.

either way, it looks pretty damn glassy........... which is nice.


and the current building on site is a real POS, so just about anything would be an improvement.
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  #11  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 3:34 PM
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A thumbnail from the Trib showing street level:
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  #12  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 3:37 PM
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Again, most of these projects have to get built to really realize just how incredible this period of time is in Chicago. But even if only half of what's proposed gets built, it will still be amazing.
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  #13  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 3:40 PM
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YOU GUYS SUCK



You're getting all these nice towers from 600-2000' tall. I'm so jealous of you.


I likey. It'll look nice.
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  #14  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 4:11 PM
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Can we get a rendering of the city in like 2009 with:

Trump Tower
Waterview Tower
Fordham Spire
300 N. LaSalle
InterContinental North Tower
65 E. Huron
Legacy at Millenium Park
340 on the Park
Mandarin Oriental Tower
the Studio Gang tower
One Museum Park
The Elysian


... and what else am I missing? Those buildings alone would beat any North American skyline outside Chicago and New York...
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- Nicolai Ouroussoff, New York Times
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  #15  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 4:34 PM
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Wow, I wake up to this news! This just made me have a good day. Anyway, good idea Chi-town I'd like to see that. SSC has some future skylines in the Chicago forum but you probably already knew that. I would like to see those buildings that Chi-town mentioned too.
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  #16  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 4:50 PM
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Great news for Chicago! It looks really nice.
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  #17  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 5:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chi-town
Can we get a rendering of the city in like 2009 with:

Trump Tower
Waterview Tower
Fordham Spire
300 N. LaSalle
InterContinental North Tower
65 E. Huron
Legacy at Millenium Park
340 on the Park
Mandarin Oriental Tower
the Studio Gang tower
One Museum Park
The Elysian


... and what else am I missing? Those buildings alone would beat any North American skyline outside Chicago and New York...
The 60-80 story proposal near the NBC Tower.
800 Foot Mixed Use at 29-39 S. LaSalle
80 Story Condo at 830 S. Michigan
Another 60 story proposal near Roosevelt/Columbus

The ones over 60 stories I can think of.
Shit, I know I am leaving something out.
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  #18  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 5:30 PM
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^ blowing scale is what this town does best. remember JHC on north michigan back in the '70's, how it obliterated the palmolive. talk about an out of place scale buster, yet today it is the most beloved tower in the entire city.

i'm not saying that this tower neccessarily has the magic of the JHC, but people who concern themselves solely of maintaining some "proper" scale always forget the lessons of the past. big buildings and little buildings can work very well together, even when the big tower doesn't give any deference what-so-ever (JHC).
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  #19  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 6:23 PM
Chi-town Chi-town is offline
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I think this thing looks sleek and glassy enough to not really overwhelm as badly as it could. It'll just be a backdrop to blend with blue sky when viewed from the river...

What would be really awful is the usual LaGrange Michigan Avenue Po-Mo Crapfest going up on the site. Art deco stone structures and modern glass can complement each other well. Art deco stone structures and painted concrete trying and failing miserably to look like art deco stone do not.
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"Architecture is the art of balancing values: economic, aesthetic, public, private. It always involves compromise, and few architects would deny that the client's desires take precedence. But the best architects understand that they also have an obligation to the public welfare, no matter who is paying their bills. That often means investing time in educating clients rather than simply acceding to their desires."

- Nicolai Ouroussoff, New York Times
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  #20  
Old Posted Nov 1, 2005, 7:01 PM
dvidler dvidler is offline
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Also you need to consider what possibly will be around this building. Trump Tower, Cityfront Plaza Development, and many other new Streeterville developments that are glassy. It will all fit in my opinion.
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