The narrow Fulton Market Kitchen site at 311 N. Sangamon St. sits just north of the Time Out food hall. Credit: Jay Koziarz/Block Club Chicago

WEST LOOP — The coronavirus pandemic’s negative impact on Chicago’s struggling hotel industry hasn’t dissuaded a team of developers from eyeing a 14-story hotel to replace the Fulton Market Kitchen restaurant at 311 N. Sangamon St. 

If approved, the proposal from Chicago-based Marc Realty and investor Relu Stan would bring another 296 guest rooms to the heart of the Fulton Market District, according to a recent zoning application filed with the city. The plan also includes 6,000 square feet of retail space, office space, and no on-site parking.

In addition to replacing the restaurant with a slender 149-foot tower, the proposed development would preserve and incorporate an adjacent four-story building at 310 N. Peoria St., which was built in 1893 for the Wolf, Sayer & Heller meatpacking and butcher supply company. 

The vacant landmark was included in an earlier 2017 rezoning proposal from the same developers to add a fifth floor to the former warehouse and convert its interior spaces to a 28-room boutique hotel. 

The latest plan will require a zoning change from the city and will need to earn the support of Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) before it can move forward. The developers and their zoning attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

Though COVID-19 paused Chicago’s once red-hot hospitality industry, the project for 311 N. Sangamon shows that developers remain optimistic about the future and are willing to compete against established West Loop lodging options such as the Hoxton, Hyatt House, Ace, and Nobu hotels.

Other hotel projects in the pipeline include a 259-room Standard Hotel planned for 1234 W. Randolph, a 240-room Equinox Hotel at 725 W. Randolph, and 476 guest rooms spread across two yet-to-be-announced brands headed for 800 W. Lake Street.

Fulton Market Kitchen opened in 2014 and is known by neighbors for its eclectic decor and eye-catching exterior artwork. The restaurant, which is currently subject to the state’s indoor dining ban and does not offer outdoor seating, could not be reached for comment. 

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