WICKER PARK — Construction on Chicago’s next Hyatt Place — a brand targeting millennial business travelers — is moving along at the southeast corner of North and Ashland avenues in Wicker Park.
At a monthly Wicker Park Committee meeting on Wednesday, the project’s contractor, Nick Psyhogios, said he expects the hotel to open by the end of 2019 or early 2020.
The 99-room hotel at 1555 N. Ashland replaces a Shell gas station demolished a year ago. Construction on the long talked about project began last May.
Property owner George Nediyakalayil also attended Wednesday’s neighborhood meeting at the Wicker Park Fieldhouse, 1425 N. Damen. He has owned the property for the last 20 years and plans to operate Hyatt Place as a franchise.
The hotel won’t have a full-service restaurant, but there will be a small bar with about eight seats and a conference area that the community can access. An east-facing event venue on the seventh floor will have skyline views.
During the meeting, Nediyakalayil promised members of the Wicker Park Committee that there would be neighborhood-only discounts.
While it was previously reported the hotel would have 36 covered parking spaces available to guests, Psyhogios said the hotel will offer valet parking space for at least 60 cars on the basement, first and second floors. (The hotel will double-park cars to squeeze in as many as possible, he said).
According to travel industry site Skift, the Hyatt Place brand, which has more than 300 locations, appeals to millennial business travelers, who like the “attractive price point, social design of the lobbies, and a smart guest room layout.”
The plan was first introduced in August 2015 and architect Ronald Vari was tapped by Nediyakalayil to design the hotel. After the Plan Commission approved the project last year, Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) requested a different design after hearing negative feedback from residents.
At a community meeting in 2016 hosted by Hopkins, some residents panned the initial design. “It’s like an office building in Schaumburg!” one man shouted.
Hopkins agreed with residents that the planned hotel looked “too suburban.”
“It still doesn’t look like it is at home in Wicker Park and Noble Square. It looks more suburban and we are trying to get away from that … It’s still just not an attractive building by most people’s standards,” Hopkins told DNAinfo last year.
Vari left the project last year and in his place, architect April Maifield, of River North-based Legat Architects, was hired. Early renderings used to obtain the construction permit showed a glass, brick and concrete building with a brown and clay earth-tone exterior.
The hotel would be a few blocks south of Walsh Park, at the eastern end of the 2.7-mile Bloomingdale Trail that extends west to Bucktown, Logan Square and Humboldt Park.
The intersection is also about a half-mile east of Wicker Park’s main hub, where the Northwest Tower and an adjacent building recently were transformed into The Robey, a boutique hotel offering 89 rooms.