WIN: Tremont Hotel to be Renovated by New Owners, Despite Being Marketed as Land

The Tremont Hotel will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation and remain a hotel. It was recently purchased by Hotel Capital, an Indianapolis-based for $25.5 million. Hotel Capital CEO Michael Collier acknowledged that Chicago hotel competition is robust, but he noting that the purchase price was “significantly less than what it would cost to build and what other competing hotels have invested in their properties.”

The 15-story Tremont Hotel is located at 100 E. Chestnut Street and was built in 1926 and designed by architects Olsen & Urbain as the Mozart Apartment Hotel. The 135-room hotel has been on the market twice in two years, including being “sold as land” by broker CBRE, and there was significant concern that the building might be demolished as part of a larger new construction development.

Chicago developer John Murphy told Danny Ecker of Crain’s in 2017, “The Tremont is likely to fetch a higher value as a teardown candidate if a buyer is willing to weather the lengthy process of rallying community and city approval for a high-rise project.”

Preservation Chicago wishes to reemphasize the important role that active community members and city officials play in helping to bring about good development projects.

The Tremont Hotel shares its name with one of Chicago’s great historic hotels. The original Tremont House, designed by John M. Van Osdel in 1850, was a leading hotel in Chicago in the late 19th century, on par with the Palmer House, the Sherman House, the Briggs House, and the Grand Pacific Hotel. In 1861, George Pullman did the impossible by raising the Tremont House six feet to match the new street grade, while the hotel was fully occupied! He promised that he could do the job without disturbing a guest or breaking a single pane of glass. Then during the 1860 Republican National Convention which was held at the Wigwam, the nearby Tremont House served as the Headquarters for the Illinois Republican Party from which they lobbied for the nomination of Abraham Lincoln. In 1865, Mary Todd Lincoln stayed at the Tremont House for a week following the assassination of President Lincoln.

Preservation Chicago applauds the developer Hotel Capital for recognizing the value of a historic building. The growing recognition within the Chicago real estate community of the inherent ability of historic buildings to drive greater profits has been confirmed by the highly successful JW Marriott Chicago Hotel in the Commercial National Bank Building, the London House Hotel in the London Guarantee Building, the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel in the Chicago Athletic Association Building and the Kimpton Hotel Gray in the New York Life Building.

Additional Reading

Tremont Chicago Hotel sold to Indianapolis investor, Danny Ecker, Crain’s Chicago Business, 6/18/18

Time to tear down the Tremont? Danny Ecker, Crain’s Chicago Business, 8/17/18

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