|It's the blue one in the center (click images for larger view)|
As he usually does, Reilly promised to publish the renderings and presentation on his website, but since they're still not up, for the moment you'll have to settle for the lower-quality photographs we made of the presentation boards.
Chicago Zoning Map shows the site with the designation DX-12, Reilly repeatedly referred to it was a Planned Development, as are most of the recently developed tracts in the area.
Friedman talked about the team of architects and designers he's assembled, all of whom have worked for him on previous projects, beginning with the Aria Group “who really understands the retail and restaurant side of the equation, and this transition for Giordano's”, NORR Architects Planners, “who really gets the nuts-and-bolts and the basic design of a hotel [and] . . . our aesthetic architect . . . Todd Halamka. Collaboratively, they're coming to us and saying, ‘What's the best we can do?’ Keep challenging yourself - within reason, of course, cost-wise - but to make something special.” (Wolff Landscape Architecture is the landscape architect. Friedman pledges that all of the new building's roofs will be green. )
Like his development at Clark, Illinois and Grand, which opened last year with three different hotel brands sharing a single site, Friedman's hotel at 740 North Rush will combine two moderately-priced Hyatt brands in a single building. An all-suite Hyatt Place will take up the lower floors, with an extended stay Hyatt House on the upper levels.
Peter Lemmon of parking consultant TADI told the meeting that in an area like this, about 30% of the hotel guests come by car, and 80% of those via taxi, translating to a maximum of 40 to 50 cars a day for the new Hyatt tower. Standard Parking's Jim Buczek added that overnight hotel parking averaging $50-70 a night would probably be considered a bit steep to guests taking advantage of the Friedman project's more moderate room rates. Although residents in attendance expressed their skepticism, Buczek claimed that Standard Parking's nearby properties could accommodate up to 300 additional cars in nearby garages at such buildings as the Fordham and 900 North Michigan, with an additional 4,000 spaces available in garages serving Northwestern's Streeterville campus.
|old and new in Friedman's River North - |
Courtyard Marriott, Courtyard Place, Dearborn Plaza
As Friedman became more successful, he acquired the 1892 seven-story Romanesque rockpile on west Hubbard (architect Otto Matz) - originally been the Cook County Criminal Courthouse - and renovated it into premiere office space as Courthouse Place. A similar rehab of Alfred Alschuler's 1912 John R. Thompson building on Clark soon followed. Over time, Friedman took on one old building after another, until his nameplates have become so ubiquitous that he's come to be known as the “King of River North.”
|Albert Friedman three hotel development, River North|
“Anything that I've ever done over the last forty-five years,” he said at the public meeting on 740, “has been a reflection on myself. I'm not a fee developer. I'm someone who builds things, develops things, owns things, and keeps them . . . I take pride in everything I do. And I do want everyone to be as satisfied as I am.” Friedman once served a stint on the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, “so I'm very sensitive to landmarks and architectural integrity. When you see the presentation you'll see why I wanted to preserve as much of the character of the buildings that are here. I know that there has been some misunderstanding thinking that I somehow I would take the brownstones down to the west and that's not the case.”
Hilton Garden Inn on east Wacker, which will have a 25-story-tall shear wall rising without a single window, the 740 North Rush tower will be encased entirely in windows, a “nice glass, clean-lined product”. The building is also carefully set back on all four sides from its neighbors, providing a moat of air space that will afford every guest a view of something other than an air shaft. The tightest fit is along Superior, and even there the building is to be set back an additional five feet from the lot line. To the west are the two low brownstones, to the north, a 54-foot setback from the lot line, plus a 20-foot wide alley. To the east, a 72-foot setback from Rush street. According to Friedman, the design of the curtain wall is still being finalized. While only the south and west elevations were revealed in the renderings shown at the meeting, the north and east are supposed to mirror them in design.
When the hotel project was first announced, many assumed that the old building at 740 North Rush was a goner. That's proven not to be the case, but the structure is to be both truncated and reconfigured.