The 1961 mid-century modern, steel and glass, Essex Inn at 800 South Michigan Avenue designed by A. Epstein and Sons is on the agenda for final landmark designation approval at the Chicago Landmarks Commission meeting on Thursday. The 14 story building will be fully renovated into an “upscale lifestyle hotel”. Additionally, the building will be added to the National Register Historic Places. The developer, Oxford Capitol Group, recently completed the renovation of the historic London Guaranty Building which reopened as the London House Hotel.
Preservation Chicago has strongly advocated for the landmarking and full restoration of the Essex Inn. Preservation Chicago has testified on behalf of the building at many public meetings and has been in communication with community members, public officials and the design team to advocate for preservation-sensitive renovation.
The landmarking of a mid-century building represents an important addition to the Historic Michigan Boulevard District which initially protected buildings from 1880 to 1930, leaving the fate uncertain for the mid-century Borg-Warner Building, Johnson Publishing Building, and the Essex Inn. Unlike the historic Santa Fe rooftop sign that was recently removed from the Railroad Exchange Building, the historic Essex Inn rooftop sign will be retained and restored.