LOGAN SQUARE — Logan Square is still on track to get a new boutique hotel in the Grace’s Furniture building despite months of silence from the development team.
That’s according to Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, whose 35th Ward includes the long-vacant Grace’s Furniture building at 2616-18 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Ramirez-Rosa said the project has been held up for months because the development team, Marc Realty and Blue Star Properties, has had a difficult time figuring out who owns the small property adjacent to the building that includes the Logan Square Blue Line entrance and the Paseo Prairie Community Garden.
According to the alderman, the developers spent months going back and forth with the city and the CTA and neither would claim ownership of the property.
The developers need to know who owns the adjacent property in order to secure city permits.
“That’s a legal problem because if you’re trying to move forward with the city’s permitting process, you need to know who actually owns the property adjacent to where you’re seeking to build,” Ramirez-Rosa said.
“That has, unfortunately, been a very arduous process for the developer.”
The alderman said it now appears that the city does own the property after all. He said once the “legal quagmire” is fully settled, the developers will then have to determine whether or not they need an easement, which may need City Council approval. They also need approval from the city’s Commission on Chicago Landmarks, he said.
Ramirez-Rosa said the developers are aiming to begin construction in the spring if everything goes according to plan.
“I’m happy to hear that the developer is committed to seeing this through,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that there’s this ongoing matter that has been a sticking point, but we gotta do everything right.”
Attempts to reach the developers and their zoning attorney, Rolando Acosta, were unsuccessful.
Plans call for a boutique hotel with 44 rooms and two restaurants.
Holiday Jones, which runs hostels in Wicker Park, East Village and River North, will serve as the hotel operator. Rooms will likely rent for around $150 per night, which is a typical rate for Holiday Jones-operated properties.
Fifty/50 Restaurant Group will run the restaurants. Scott Weiner, co-owner of Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, has said the ground-floor restaurant will be a brunch spot that captures the spirit of the neighborhood. Weiner wouldn’t share much about the rooftop restaurant, but has said it will not be a sports bar like Fifty/50, the group’s namesake bar on Division Street.
The project scored unanimous approval from the Committee on Zoning in January 2019, but the site has sat quiet since then.
Redevelopment of the building, one of the most prominent structures overlooking Logan Square and the Illinois Centennial Monument, has been held up for many years by a legal battle over the billboards on the side of the building facing the square.
The city banned billboards on the side of the building in 2013, and the billboards’ owner, Visualcast, fought the measure in court. The city won the lawsuit and the last billboard was removed in May 2016.
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