Is Chicago's After Party In The Hotel Lobby?

Chicago viewed from the top of the Willis Tower. (Andrew Langdal / Flickr)

Chicago viewed from the top of the Willis Tower. (Andrew Langdal / Flickr)

During Chicago’s last real estate boom it was all condos, and during the following bust developers were all about building apartments. The buzzword during this modest recovery, if you can call it that, is hotels.

Eavesdrop used to have panic attacks thinking about a completely condo-fied downtown, with a deflated business district. The new-and-now planned or rumored hotel for every block of the Loop, it seems, leaves us confused. Is this good or bad? Will tourists fill these West Of The Shopping hotels on the weekends? Will the Loop get a much-needed jolt of life after 6:00 p.m.?

It’s hard to defend the Loop to New Yorkers, whose inevitable first question is, “Where are the people?” In Eavedrop’s humble opinion, it’s only going to happen with good design, as no one is going to stay after work to sit and sip in a cookie cutter Westin lobby (sorry, Starwood!).

The glut of new projects from Hyatt, Kimpton, Virgin, Hilton, and the new Indigo better up the design ante—dump your in-house designs for something truly unique. Additional plus: most of these appear to be adaptive reuse and not tear downs—fingers crossed!

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