Last night at East-West University, two new proposals had their first public meeting. The meeting, held by the Near South Planning Board was the first detailed public viewing of the planned towers to be located 800 and 1000 south Michigan Avenue, each of which had their own respective presentations.
First up was 800 South Michigan Avenue, better known as the Essex Inn. This project plans a full restoration of the existing 254-room hotel, as well as replacing the adjacent parking garage to the south with a new apartment building. The Essex Inn was sold last fall to Oxford Capitol Development, a developer that has been very busy with recent hotel projects in downtown Chicago including The Langham, Felix, Godfrey and the upcoming LondonHouse Hotel. In restoring the Essex Inn, meeting rooms and back of house functions which in the past had been lodging space will be returned to that use, creating an additional 22 guest rooms for a grand total of 276 in the restored building. The design of the project by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture would then relocate the meeting and back of house spaces into the podium structure of the planned adjacent tower.