A hotel developer added flair to his designs after hearing complaints from Hyde Parkers. [Courtesy of Campbell Coyle]
HYDE PARK — Developers of a proposed hotel for 53rd Street came back to the community on Tuesday night with changes that added “flair” to the design and a new plan for parking in response to comments from the neighborhood.
The architect for the 90-room-hotel planned for 1401 E. 53rd St. showed new renderings that wrapped more of the proposed brick building in steel along the 7th floor and down the northwestern corner.
Greg Randall of GREC Architects said he added the steel accents and punched up the design of the $20 million building after hearing from Hyde Parkers that the initial design had “not enough flair.”
Randall said he picked materials like modular bricks that were popular among Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hyde Park houses and forms that complemented nearby buildings like the Versailles Apartments at 5254 S. Dorchester Ave., which is equal in height to the proposed hotel at 90 feet.
The hotel has also changed its parking plan. It will add 10 parking spaces that can be leased out by nearby homeowners for $75 a month at the Harper Court garage with full valet service from the hotel. The plan is keeping 17 on-site parking spaces, a valet service and overflow parking in the garage at the Harper Court development.
Past complaints about parking were more muted on Tuesday compared two past meetings on the hotel, a good sign as the developers start the process of changing the zoning, which would require Ald. Leslie Hairston’s support when it’s submitted to the city on Jan. 6.
Ed Small, president of Smart Hotels, which built the Hyde Park Hyatt Place where the Tuesday meeting was held, came equipped with the parking stats of the Hyatt to allay any remaining fears about parking.
Small and management of the hotel presented a survey from Hyatt guests that showed the hotel had overbuilt parking when it dedicated 50 parking spaces in the Harper Court garage for the hotel’s 131 rooms. The results showed that 18 percent of hotel guests brought a car and almost exclusively used the parking garage in lieu of the many free parking spaces in Hyde Park, which has no permit parking anywhere in the neighborhood.
Construction on the hotel is expected to start in the spring and it will employ approximately 55 employees in the hotel and the restaurant and lounge, which dominates the western facade on the first floor, when it opens.
The developer of the hotel is offering 10 parking spaces with valet service for nearby neighbors to rend.
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