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Loyola, Developers Propose Six-Story, 145-Room Hotel on Albion Avenue

By Benjamin Woodard | December 9, 2014 5:42am
 The university had been working to find a developer to build and manage the hotel on the southwest corner of North Sheridan Road and Albion Avenue.
The university had been working to find a developer to build and manage the hotel on the southwest corner of North Sheridan Road and Albion Avenue.
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ROGERS PARK — Loyola University and a hotel development company have proposed building a six-story, 145-room hotel at the southwest corner of Albion Avenue and Sheridan Road.

Plans for the hotel have been in the works for years.

"We’ve been studying this corner for a long time," Tim McGuriman, Loyola's associate vice president of capital planning, said at a small meeting of neighbors Monday night.

The university has partnered with Atira Hotels, which intends to build and manage a Hampton Inn, a hotel chain owned by Hilton Worldwide. The first floor would include 9,000 square feet of retail space in about four storefronts managed by Loyola, according to preliminary plans.

The vacant university-owned building that formerly was Carmen's Pizza would be torn down to make way for the development. Bruno's Lounge would remain, as university officials have said the owner refuses to sell the two-story building.

Jennifer Clark, Loyola's associate vice president of campus and community planning, said the university was pursuing a sit-down family restaurant for one of the storefronts.

The hotel, with a lobby located off Albion, would be managed by Atira, which manages eight other hotels in the Chicago area.

A covered vehicle turn-around would be located in the building off one-way Albion, which will require part of the street — about a half of a block — to be changed to two-way traffic.

"We really like this project because we saw what the demand was, and what the community needs, and it resonated with us," said Sanjeev Misra, Atira's president.

The hotel would need several concessions from the city and Ald. Joe Moore (49th). First, the Plan Commission would need to approve construction near the lakefront. Second, the Zoning Board of Appeals would need to approve a several special-use permits, for on-site loading, accessory parking and for the operation of the hotel.

Atira also intends to reduce the minimum off-street parking by 50 percent, from 60 to 30 spaces, due to the proximity to the Loyola Red Line station.

The City Council would also need to approve two-way traffic on Albion up to the alley (about half a block), a loading zone on Albion and use of existing public alley to access the parking lot to the west.

A left-turn arrow would also be added to the traffic light at Sheridan and Albion with approval from the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Renderings were presented Monday night to neighbors, but were not distributed to DNAinfo Chicago. The renderings showed a brick and metal facade. The north side of the building, along Albion, extends six stories to 77 feet, while the east side along Sheridan only extends five stories.

Misra said the southwest corner of the building would only extend one story and would be capped with a green roof.

The roof of the fifth story along Sheridan would include a terrace and event space with lake views, he said.

The hotel would be categorized as "limited service," Misra said, and would not include a restaurant or bar. There would, however, be a fitness center and a kiosk for customers to buy prepackaged food.

If approvals are met, Atira expects to open the hotel in late summer 2016.

Several neighbors at the meeting expressed concerns over parking and traffic. A larger community meeting will be held at a later time and location, university officials said.

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