“As Chicago’s recovering hospitality industry bounces back, construction is nearly complete on a project to transform a historic former office building at 226 W. Jackson Boulevard into a pair of Hilton-affiliated hotels with a combined 350 guest rooms.
“The 135-room Hilton Garden Inn Central Loop is on track to open September 7, 2021. The more upscale 215-room Canopy by Hilton Chicago Central Loop will open within the building’s upper floors on September 20. The hotel openings will be followed by the launch of a new rooftop lounge and bar, set for early 2022.
“Located across the street from Willis Tower in the heart of the Loop, the 15-story landmark structure dates back to 1904 and was designed in the Classical Revival style by architects Frost and Granger. It served as the headquarters to the Chicago & North Western Railways and later the City Colleges of Chicago.
“A venture led by Chicago-based Phoenix Development Partners acquired the property for $32.7 million and began work on its $100 million-plus gut renovation in late 2019. Chicago’s Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) oversaw the redesign of the 117-year-old building, and Leopardo Companies served as general contractor on the project.
“The two hotels will have distinct personalities and price points, but both will play off the history of the building and its downtown location. Each hotel will offer dedicated fitness facilities, their own food and beverage outlets, and meeting rooms that can accommodate between 20 and 40 people.
“‘Our building is the old Chicago & North Western Railway offices, so we’re taking the train theme and paying homage to its history and bringing in an old-time Chicago feel and vibe,’ explained Neil DeGuia, general manager for the two-hotel complex.” (Koziarz, Urbanize Chicago, 7/29/21)
“In addition to its important role in Chicago’s economic heritage, the C&NW Railway Office Building is an excellent example of the Classical Revival style in the Loop. The high-rise headquarters building is clad with light-grey granite and reflects the tripartite division of a Classical column with a base, shaft, and capital divided by ornate projecting belt courses. Its entrance is highlighted by two large fluted granite Doric columns. The formal elegance and ancient Greek origins of the headquarters’ architectural style, designed by the significant Chicago firm of Frost and Granger, communicated the stability and prominence of the railroad company.” (Landmark Designation Report, 11/19)
Preservation Chicago applauds Phoenix Development Partners for pursuing the Chicago Landmark Designation. We fully support this development and played an active role throughout the landmark process. The C&NW Railway Office Building’s history and design made it a strong candidate to become a Designated Chicago Landmark.
Additionally, Preservation Chicago encourages the developer to rebuild the lost historic cornice as part of future improvements. The cost for cornice rebuilding is significant and Preservation Chicago encourages the City of Chicago to adjust existing codes to make cornice rebuilding more attainable. Further, we recommend additional incentives be made available to Designated Chicago Landmarks to encourage cornice restoration and reconstruction.
Hotel redevelopment of premier railroad company headquarters seeks landmark status; Designed in 1904, the historic building housed headquarters for Chicago & North Western Railway, Ryan Smith, Curbed Chicago, 11/8/19
Former City Colleges HQ to become dual-brand Hilton; A local developer is turning the historic building across from Willis Tower into a hotel after another group’s plan to redevelop it into apartments fell through, Danny Ecker, Crain’s Chicago Business, 10/1/19