Last month in this column, we conjured up a fake rivalry between Cincinnati, Cleveland, and East Lansing, MI, as they all have high profile projects opening this fall. Of all the blabber we’ve scattered across these pages, that piece stirred up the most voices. One fan wanted to know, “What about Indianapolis?” In our opinion, it’s a classic quantity versus quality situation. There’s a lot of development going on in Indianapolis right now, including City Way, along with a lot of forgettable architecture. There was the opening of the JW Marriott, with its nifty, curved blue glass curtain wall, design by HOK and CSO Architects. But does a convention hotel really stand up against starchitect designed museums and boutique art hotels? Not in this case.
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If you read this column, you know Eaves loves a party. You also know we self-deprecatingly speak of mediocre Midwestern cities (we’re from Louisville). Even with summer winding down, there’s no need to stick out that lower lip. A slew of—well, ok, three–high profile openings will tickle even the slightest art and architecture enthusiast as Cleveland, East Lansing, and Cincinnati compete for the title of Bilbao of the Midwest. First up, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, designed by Farshid Moussavi Architecture, opens on October 6. Will the Mistake-on-the-Lake become the Rust Belt Riviera? On MOCA’s heels comes the Eli and Edythe Broad Museum on November 9. OK, we don’t know anything about East Lansing other than a school’s there, but—hey!—now they have a Zaha Hadid. And finally, Cincinnati, home to America’s first Hadid, will welcome 21c Museum Hotel by Deborah Berke & Partners. Their website says it will open late 2012. Which project will be an urban game-changer? We could be swayed by opening night invites, but right now my money’s on Cincy.
A rose by any other name may still smell as sweet, but what about a violet? Suburban Chicago’s Purple Hotel, rescued this Spring from dereliction and impending demolition, may change its name to complement its transformation under architects Koo and Associates. The firm solicited name suggestions via Facebook, looking for “something mid-century and fresh.” One early commenter declared, “Renaming the Purple Hotel will go over about as well as renaming the Sears Tower.” He may be right in so far as the new name likely won’t persuade the many locals with ties to the hotel’s colorful history. It was a veritable magnet for bar mitzvahs, it seems, before it attracted less wholesome convention crowds to buoy revenue in its later years. AN reported in June on new plans for the iconic Lincolnwood hotel, which principal Jackie Koo said would include varying degrees of historic preservation and inventive repurposing of the 1961 structure’s titular purple glazed brick. We welcome the change—a fresh start deserves a new name. But judging by the leading suggestions at the moment, the public has not grown jaded with the building’s most visually-striking element over time. Among the more popular at press time? The UltraViolet and The Concord.
Seven years after the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation embarked on its resuscitation of downtown’s signature Fountain Square, a vacant 86-year-old tower one block away is getting a $27.3 million makeover. The former home of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the 14-story building will now house 12,000 square feet of street-level retail and a 238-room hotel. Once slated for condos, the limestone tower will instead be downtown’s fifth largest hotel, bringing the total number of rooms downtown to more than 3,000. Cincinnati’s finance committee approved $7 million in tax abatements over 12 years for the project. SREE Hotels will invest in the construction—its first in the Midwest—but may find another hotel chain to operate the business. The investment is part of a growing wave of renewal throughout Cincinnati’s urban core, driven by private interests, municipal support, and a resurgent interest in downtowns throughout the Midwest.
We heard rumblings, but now it’s official—a 400-room, 50-story high Holiday Inn will be joining the ranks of downtown hotels at 99 Washington Street near the World Trade Center. It will be the world’s tallest Holiday Inn and the go-to architect for New York hotels, Gene Kaufman of Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman & Associates Architects, will be doing the honors. Kaufman’s other high-profile hotel projects, the Chelsea Hotel renovation and the new Hyatt near Union Square, seem to be moving full steam ahead, despite legal wrangling at the Chelsea. The Holiday Inn will likely open to guests by the end of this year.
On our way to the grand opening of the extended High Line last week, we couldn't help but notice the lights were on at the Dream Downtown, hotelier Vikram Chatwal's newest luxury outpost. While the soft-opening was reserved for Chatwal friends and family, the official opening later this month is sure to draw out the denizens of New York nightlife. Inside the lobby, a glass-bottomed pool diffuses light from the building's interior courtyard, accessed through a lushly-planted sliver at the back of the lobby. In the courtyard, a teak-heavy lounge opens up onto the pool deck complete with its own white sand beach, where Vikram himself was lounging on a plush chaise. On the roof, a still-under-wraps venue--with what the Dream is touting as one of Manhattan's finest views--is sure to be popular. Among the amenities that will open later this year is Romera New York, which is expected to offer a 12-course prix fixe for $245. The hotel will feature 316 rooms, but some are still being finished up. Originally designed by Albert Ledner in 1966--the same architect as the neighboring Maritime Hotel and the nearby O'Toole Building--and last used as a homeless shelter, Handel Architects has reclad the round-windowed building in stainless steel, earning the structure the nickname of "The Cheesegrater."
Last Thursday, AN hosted the kick-off event for Meatpacking District Design '09, a conversation between executive editor Julie V. Iovine and hotelier André Balazs at his latest creation, the Polshek Partnership-designed Standard, New York (which Julie wrote about back in February). If you couldn't make it, though, no sweat. For your vicarious pleasure, we've posted a highlight video, plus the full talk, both in video and audio formats--here at AN we're platform agnostic--plus a slew of photos of the party, the swanky new digs, and the now-in-bloom High Line. Highlights:
Full Length Interview:
Audio: Shared Space in the Public Realm: André Balazs & Julie V. Iovine