WEST LOOP — City planners have pumped the breaks on a proposed 16-story West Loop luxury hotel for now over concerns it could make traffic even worse in the booming area.
Marc Realty and DDG Partners unveiled plans for the 197-foot-tall Standard Hotel at 1234 W. Randolph St. at Catalyst Ranch in the West Loop Tuesday night. The plan was met with concerns from some neighbors who said the project, which sits between high-capacity venues Alhambra Palace and City Winery, would exacerbate the parking shortage and add to traffic congestion in the booming area.
During the meeting, Noah Szafraniec, a supervising zoning plan examiner with the city’s Department of Planning and Development, said the agency shared residents’ concerns about traffic congestion. Before the city signs off on the project, the developer needs to present a detailed plan showing how they would handle valet and other traffic the hotel would bring, he said.
“We love City Winery, but we acknowledge that there is a problem when there’s an event there,” Szafraniec said. “Everyone knows it. You live it, we see it, we go to it …We have put the onus on the developers to work with [City Winery,] and Alhambra Palace and find a solution before we are going to accept this as a city.”
The 259-room hotel, designed by NORR Architects, will feature a ground-floor restaurant, outdoor plaza, third-floor terrace as well as a rooftop pool and bar, said Michael Ezgur, a zoning attorney with the development team. The hotel, which would not have any on-site parking, would use valet service for hotel guests and visitors, Ezgur said.
Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) said he supports the project but agreed the developer needs to come up with a solution to address traffic concerns.
Residents balked at the idea that valet service and a lack of parking on-site would adequately address traffic congestion that the hotel’s guests and employees would add to the area.
A Standard Hotel representative said most of their guests at their other branded hotels typically arrived via Uber or taxi, and hotel workers typically use public transportation.
But residents said Chicago was a “driving city” and that employees often drive to work. Local guests staying at the hotel might, too, they said.
West Loop neighbor Julie Darling said while she’s excited for the hotel, the team needs to come up with a viable parking solution for employees. There is already bottleneck traffic, and adding 200 employees to the area will exacerbate issues, Darling said.
Burnett said the project was not a done deal and that he needs to hear from the West Loop’s three delegate agencies before he can sign off on the project. Even so, the veteran alderman acknowledged the West Loop has “a lot of traffic” and traffic problems will worsen “whether this gets built or not.”
The West Loop Community Organization will “absolutely not” be supporting the project as presented, said Carla Agostinelli, executive director of the group. Developers need to offer up a plan to detail with pedestrian and vehicular traffic, she said.
A team of investors previously planned to build a 23-story hotel with 289 hotel rooms, a rooftop bar and a pool at the A New Dairy Co. site, according to a zoning application filed earlier this year, but that plan was later revised.
The Randolph property is currently C1-3 and developers are seeking a DX-5 as part of a Planned Development.
Under the Planned Development, the dairy facility would be razed to make way for the hotel, Ezgur said.
Following the meeting, Ezgur said traffic experts hired by the development team were working on solutions.
A Standard Hotel representative said the West Loop hotel project is expected to generate 200 jobs.
If all goes well, developers aim to begin construction by late spring 2020.
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