MIDWAY — A cadre of state dignitaries, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, broke ground Tuesday on a 74-room Best Western boutique hotel near Midway International Airport.
Slated for a plot of land at 6501 S. Cicero Ave. — across the street from the booming hotel district of Bedford Park — The Chicago Vib Hotel will cost $8 million to build.
“Vib, as the name suggests, is an exciting, fresh and vibrant prototype. It is very befitting of this particular market," said Best Western CEO David Kong. "We’re very, very pleased that we get to showcase this product here.”
Officials say the project will create 70 construction jobs and generate almost $600,000 per year in property and hotel taxes. Vib (pronounced "Vibe") is expected to open in late 2016.
Best Western boss Kong spent 14 years living and working in Chicago. The groundbreaking represents a a homecoming of sorts.
“My kids grew up here. They went to school here. They actually live and work in the city," Kong said. "Chicago’s always had a special place in my heart."
The groundbreaking follows big tourism news in August, when Emanuel announced a $248 million expansion project at Midway, a campaign city officials called the largest investment at the South Side airport in nearly a decade.
In a speech at the future site of Vib, Emanuel said it's no coincidence Best Western decided to build a swanky hotel in the neighborhood a short time later.
“When you invest in your infrastructure ... you’re going to lure other investments,” Emanuel said. “That investment is key to the future, whether it’s in our schools, our businesses, our parks, and the quality of life we want to see throughout the City of Chicago.”
Ald. Marty Quinn (13th Ward) said the construction of Vib represents the first time the City of Chicago will have an opportunity to compete against Bedford Park — which sports a large hotel footprint across the street from the hotel's future home — for hotel tax dollars.
"And it will serve as a catalyst for future development along the Midway corridor," Quinn said.
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