WIN: Carbide and Carbon Building Renovated and Reopened as St. Jane Hotel

Carbide & Carbon Building, 230 N Michigan Avenue, Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers
Carbide & Carbon Building, 230 N Michigan Avenue, Photo Credit: Eric Allix Rogers

The Carbide and Carbon Company/ Union Carbide Building located at 230 N. Michigan Avenue has been renovated and rebranded as the St. Jane Hotel. Since 2004, the 40-story Art Deco skyscraper was known as the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago. The St. Jane Hotel renovation is more consistent with the Art Deco period and “Jazz Age elegance”. The building became a Designated Chicago Landmark in 1994.

The Carbide and Carbon Company Building was designed in 1928 by the Burnham Brothers. The exterior is comprised of a black polished granite two-story base, with a dark green terra cotta tower intended to resemble malachite, and with extensive gold leaf and bronze trim, especially on the top floors and soaring rooftop tower.

Built during the Roaring Twenties and prohibition, an often repeated urban legend suggests that the Burnham Brothers designed the building to resemble a dark green champagne bottle with gold foil at the top.

Building owner Becker Ventures wished to create a boutique hotel experience more appropriate to the historic Art Deco design of the building, so after ending the 13 year collaboration with the music-themed Hard Rock Hotel chain, they initiated a new concept with Chicago-based hotel hospitality group Aparium Hotel Group. Aparium Hotel Group specializes in reimagining historic buildings as boutique hotels. An extensive renovation was required to transform the Hard Rock Hotel into the St. Jane. Booth Hansen was the architecture and design firm hired for the project with a directive to respect the Art Deco interior elements.

Carrie Meghie, co-president at Becker Ventures told Forbes Magazine, ” that Chicago deserves this beauty and the Carbide and Carbon building deserves to be as impressive on the inside as much as it’s inspiring on the outside. The St. Jane aligns with our goal to create a product and brand that we believe is aligned with the history and beauty of the building.” (Brenner, Forbes, 8/9/18)

The name “St. Jane” is homage to Jane Addams, the legendary pioneering Chicagoan who worked extensively to aid the city’s poor and immigrant communities. She and Ellen Gates Starr founded Hull House in 1889, Chicago’s first settlement house. In 1931, Jane Addams was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Additional Reading

Former Chicago Hard Rock Hotel Reopens as The St. Jane, Julia Conner, Forbes Magazine, 8/9/18

Michigan Avenue’s Hard Rock Hotel to become St. Jane Chicago — for Jane Addams, Ryan Ori, Chicago Tribune, 8/29/17


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