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101-Room Pullman Hotel Project, The Far South Side’s First In 40 Years, Gets $5 Million City Grant

The Pullman Hotel Group hopes to build a $20 million Hampton By Hilton on 4 acres of what is now Pullman Park, a redevelopment of an old steel site.

Crews work on a gate to the Pullman National Monument in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago on August 26, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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PULLMAN — A rare new hotel planned for the Far South Side is getting a major boost from a city grant.

The Pullman Hotel Group received $5 million through the city’s Community Development Grants in November to help build a 101-room hotel at 11030 S. Doty Ave.

The city’s $40 million program was designed to spur economic activity by providing funding to small businesses and community initiatives. The Pullman Hotel grant was the largest award given to 60 recipients in this round.

The Pullman Hotel Group hopes to build a four-story Hampton by Hilton on 4 acres of what is now Pullman Park, a redevelopment of an old steel site led by Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives.

The 62,000-square-foot complex would have a business center, exercise room, indoor pool and on-site parking. The project would create about 25 jobs, according to a September news release. The project is slated to cost around $20 million, Crain’s reported.

Andre Garner, managing director of the Pullman Hotel Group, said he’s dreamt of owning a hotel on the South Side for over a decade but he’s needed additional financial help to make it happen. 

“Anytime, we’re having events on the South Side … there’s just not a lot of inventory or choices that you might have for a hotel,” Garner said. “What I don’t have is a trust fund or any deep pockets that I’ve created on my own to be able to make that happen. 

“So we’ve been looking at ways to creatively bring together various resources to make this happen,” he said. “That’s both monetary as well as resources that have deep roots and experience in the hotel industry.”

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), whose ward includes the Pullman site, has said the hotel would be first built south of Hyde Park in 40 years.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
The Pullman National Monument in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago on August 26, 2021.

Garner’s team has not yet bought the land and is still determining which of their funding sources they will tap to pay for construction, materials, the land and other costs, he said. 

“A lot will depend on the timing of when different layers of funding are available,” Garner said. 

When Garner’s team began to look for funding, there was concern that rising costs of construction and materials would make the hotel increasingly cost-prohibitive, he said.

Garner turned to the city’s Community Recovery Development grant as a possible interim solution, he said. The team initially applied for the program in January but the hotel project was not far enough along and took additional work before Garner’s team applied again in September, he said.

The $5 million is sufficient to address rising construction costs that have changed over the lifetime of the project, Garner said.

There’s still additional paperwork to complete before the Pullman Hotel Group receives the grant but Garner said he feels “great” about where the project stands. 

“It’s pretty amazing [and] it’s exciting every time I have an opportunity to share what we’re working on when with people,” Garner said. “They just get really excited, in particular, people from the community, people like my mom who lives in West Pullman and other folks.

“The fact that there’ll be a nationally branded hotel in our community is amazing and I think I’m not the only one who’s excited, as well.”

Garner previously said he hopes the development can start construction next year and and the hotel will be ready to open in early 2024.

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