WIN: Stalled Grace’s Furniture Building Boutique Hotel Plan Moving Forward

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“It’s been nearly two years since plans to build a boutique hotel in the heart of Logan Square won City Council approval. Since then, the site has seen virtually no activity, raising questions about whether the much-anticipated hotel will actually get built. But, according to zoning attorney Rolando Acosta, who works for the developer behind the project, Blue Star Properties, the project is moving forward.

“Acosta said the developer has been working behind the scenes to secure the final pieces of approval in what has become a long and unruly process/ ‘It’s not a very big project, but it has had so many layers of approvals that it’s just taken a long time,’ Acosta said.

“After several months, Blue Star finally determined the city owns the property and the development team is now on its way to obtaining a special use permit from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals, which is needed to open a hotel in the city, Acosta said. The zoning attorney said he expects the application to go up for approval at the board’s January meeting.

“Another reason the project has taken longer than anticipated is because it had to be approved by the Chicago Commission on Landmarks after securing final zoning approval from the City Council, Acosta said.

“Chicago has been battling the coronavirus pandemic since March but Acosta said the public health and economic crisis hasn’t had a significant impact on the development plan, which has already been approved by city planners. Blue Star is still planning to build a boutique hotel with 44 rooms and two restaurants on the site.

“The developer has enlisted 16″ on Center, the hospitality group behind Longman & Eagle, the Empty Bottle and other popular restaurants and music venues, to both serve as the hotel operator and run the restaurants, according to Acosta.

“The Grace’s Furniture building is one of the most prominent structures overlooking Logan Square and the Illinois Centennial Monument.

“Redevelopment of the building was held up for many years by a legal battle over the billboards on the side of the building facing the square. The city banned billboards on the side of the building in 2013, and the billboards’ owner, Visualcast, fought the measure in court. The city won the lawsuit and the last billboard was removed in May 2016.

“If the special use permit process goes smoothly, Acosta said construction on the hotel could begin early next year. The developer had hoped to begin construction this past spring. ‘It’s a matter of when the building permit gets issued … they’re itching to start. Everybody’s itching to start,’ he said.” (Bloom, 11/4/20)

Logan Square Preservation, Preservation Chicago, and neighbors including Andrew Schneider, Patricia Lauber, Steve Heir, Lew Coulson, Bruce Anderson and others advocated for many years to protect this historic building and have been involved in on-going redevelopment conversations, which has contributed to the current preservation-oriented redevelopment proposal.

Preservation Chicago supports this development plan and encourages the City and developer to respect, retain, and even consider restoring the “L” station canopy entry and English cross bond brick wall designed by Myron Goldsmith of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) in 1970. This is an example reflecting the Mies van der Rohe courtyard building studies.

Read the full story at Block Club Chicago

Logan Square Boutique Hotel Is Still On Track — With Longman & Eagle Group Now As Operator, Lawyer Says; The hotel planned for the historic Grace’s Furniture building would overlook the Centennial Monument, Mina Bloom, Block Club Chicago, 11/4/20

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