“Old Blue Eyes,” Frank Sinatra once sang, “My Kinda Town, Chicago is…..”, I along with millions of visitors each year couldn’t agree more. While I love New York, Chicago is a friendlier version (with a growing murder rate). It’s like Toronto but with considerably fewer Canadians, which makes it a vibrant and exciting city by definition.
Today saw the announcement of a planned second major hotel around McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America, which will offer an additional 1,200 rooms and will be capable of serving as a headquarters for just about any imaginable trade show.
Additionally, the hotel will be connected to the fourth and last constructed building in the complex, the West Building. The publicly funded West Building was finished ahead of schedule in 2007, and offers 250,000 square feet of meeting space, including 61 meeting rooms, as well as a a ballroom that is larger than a football field and one of the largest in the world.
When you consider that the third building in the complex was finished ten years prior and made McCormick Place the largest convention center in North America, surpassing New York City’s Javits Center, is to get an understanding of the size of this monster as it presently stands with four buildings.
The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, also known as McPier, is in talks with McHugh Construction Company over the L–Shaped parcel directly west of the West Building. The hotel and land purchase is expected to reach $400 million with the bulk of that money going to construction costs. It is rumored that the property acquisition may involve a land swap between the two companies.
McPier already owns the 800-room McCormick Place Hyatt Regency, which is undergoing a 460-room expansion due to be completed this July at a cost of nearly $90 million. Citing a 2009 study that calls for suggests a demand of over 8,000 rooms in the area. Jim Reilly, chief executive of the state-city authority stated earlier today, “I don’t see this as competing (with other projects), he said. “This will give us 2,400 rooms, and we could easily use more than 2,400 rooms.”
McPier expects to run both hotels in conjunction with each other for maximum efficiency and labor utilization.
Presently, it appears construction will begin in the last months of 2014 with a completion date inside of two years.
The site will also have a Michigan Avenue address, giving visitors the misconception that they will be in the heart of downtown Chicago. They won’t be but with a proposed new station on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Green Line only two blocks away from the hotel, they will be able to get there quite quickly. As Jim Reilly stated, [international trade show visitors] “love using mass transit.”