OLD TOWN — The city Plan Commission on Thursday approved a scaled-down proposal for a luxury hotel on Wells Street despite opposition from neighbors.
That means the developers behind the project, Condor Partners and Chicago Development Partners, are one step closer to building the hotel at 1528 N. Wells St., currently occupied by O'Brien's Restaurant & Bar.
At community meetings, most neighbors opposed the project, saying it would "destroy" the charm of quaint Old Town. In an attempt to compromise, the developers scaled down the proposal from 18 stories to 13 stories.
Plans include a "four-star" hotel with a rooftop lounge, a patisserie, meeting rooms and a new white tablecloth restaurant. O'Brien's, which has called Old Town home for more than 30 years, will reopen within the hotel.
The hotel will offer up to 200 rooms averaging 350 square feet. The underground parking garage will have room for up to 60 cars.
Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), whose ward includes the development, said 13 stories is not out of scale with the neighborhood, despite what neighbors said.
"They cried like a baby," he said of the developer, but "we broke them down."
“This neighborhood has been evolving. We call it Old Town, but there’s nothing really old that much," said Burnett.
Burnett said the hotel will boost the economy locally and citywide.
“This hotel would bring a lot more business to the businesses” up and down Wells Street and create 117 permanent jobs, he said.
“Not only do we have to do things for the neighborhood, we also have to do things for the city of Chicago,” he said.
The plan now moves on to the full City Council for a final vote.
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