Old Conrad Hotel in River North being transformed

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Judy Lamelza

Special to Chicago Construction News

The transformation of the Conrad Hotel into the new Marriott Residence Inn, signifies a noteworthy shift in Chicago’s River North landscape. Spearheaded by the joint venture of Prime Group and Wanxiang America Real Estate Group, this project encapsulates the dynamic nature of urban redevelopment and the resurgence of the hospitality sector in the city’s architectural tapestry.

The project aims to preserve the distinctive orange travertine marble in the lobby, maintaining a link to the building’s historical essence. However, the interior will see a complete overhaul with new furniture and decor, aiming to blend luxury with comfort. The design philosophy extends to the exterior, where the building’s facade will be revamped to resonate with the sophisticated branding of Marriott Residence Inn, while also complementing the urban fabric of River North.

The renovation process includes a comprehensive “major redo” of the existing structure. Every facet of the building is under scrutiny and will include:

  • Installation of new elevator cabs
  • “Yacht-style” kitchens in each room
  • Two restaurants and a rooftop bar

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that sustainability is a key consideration in the renovation. The development team is committed to implementing green building practices, from energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems to water-saving fixtures, ensuring the project not only revitalizes the space but does so with a reduced environmental footprint.

“We are taking a five-star hotel and converting it to a luxury extended-stay product. It’s going to be a very high-end Residence Inn,” said Developer Michael Reschke.

The project’s economic ripple effect is significant, promising to create numerous construction jobs and permanent positions once the hotel is operational. The inclusion of two restaurants and a rooftop bar, collectively known as the 101 Club, is poised to become a culinary destination, further stimulating local economic activity and offering new social spaces for both residents and visitors.

One of the paramount challenges in redeveloping a former five-star hotel into a luxury extended-stay facility is balancing the need for extensive upgrades with the preservation of the building’s iconic elements. This challenge provides an opportunity for innovative construction techniques and materials that can facilitate this transition while adhering to budgetary and time constraints.

Judy Lamelza writes for Databid.com‘s blog.

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