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The Robey, Wicker Park Boutique Hotel, Plans To Open By Thanksgiving

By Alisa Hauser | August 4, 2016 1:31pm | Updated on August 4, 2016 3:05pm
 The Robey, 1600 to 1626 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park. 
The Robey and The Hollander in Wicker Park
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WICKER PARK — After nearly three years of construction at Wicker Park's main intersection, a boutique hotel named The Robey in the Northwest Tower will open in late fall, its owners announced during a neighborhood group meeting on Wednesday.

If everything goes as planned, The Robey will welcome its first guests on Nov. 15, according to Moises Micha, founding partner at Grupo Habita, a Mexico-based luxury hotel chain that will operate The Robey and an adjacent property with larger family-friendly lodging options, The Hollander.

Nightly rates for The Robey will range between $150 to $250, with The Hollander room rates about 20 to 30 percent less than The Robey's, Micha said.

Entrances to both hotels will be on North Avenue. The Robey's official address is 2018 W. North Ave., while The Hollander is at 2022 W. North Ave.

In the spring, a second restaurant and bar in The Hollander will follow The Robey's opening, but a restaurant and lounge on the first and second floors of The Robey — as well as a rooftop bar with Downtown skyline views — are expected to open in the fall, the group said.

Micha and Santiago Leon de la Vega, the hotel's general manager, along with Evan Meister, a project manager with Convexity Properties, the building's developer, provided the project updates to a few dozen residents at the Wicker Park Committee's monthly meeting Wednesday in the park's field house, 1425 N. Damen Ave.

The Northwest Tower is considered to be one of Wicker Park's most iconic buildings. Back in 2013, members of the Wicker Park Committee unanimously supported Convexity Properties' plan to transform the mostly empty office building into a hotel.

The bulk of The Robey's rooms — 69 total, about seven per floor — are in the tower at 1600 N. Milwaukee Ave. Those rooms will have a single bed, either queen or king-sized.

Another 20 rooms will be on the upper floors of the five-story Hollander Fireproof Warehouse at 1618 N. Milwaukee Ave., adjacent to the tower. Those rooms will offer both queen-sized and twin beds for families or small groups.

Photos of the rooms are not yet available. Meister described The Robey rooms as "art deco with a slightly modern flair" and The Hollander rooms as "more industrial" with tall, exposed ceilings.

All of the rooms in The Robey feature hardwood floors and original doors. The window trim was replicated to match the original window trim found in the Northwest Tower, Meister said.

A swimming pool on the roof of The Hollander next to a bar will close at 5 p.m. daily and only be open to hotel guests, Meister said, adding that the bar will have an enclosure that separates it from the pool. All of the hotel's restaurants and bars are open to the public.

A view of the hotel's swimming pool. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

An original plan to have an event space for small weddings, conferences and other gatherings on the second floor of The Hollander was nixed due to space constraints; however, both restaurants will be able to host events, Meister said.

The hospitality complex also offers three retail storefronts, including a Sprint store at 1624 N. Milwaukee Ave. and another for-lease storefront at 1620 N. Milwaukee Ave. 

At 1618 N. Milwaukee Ave., a not-yet-revealed boutique retail chain making its first appearance in Chicago is expected to open in the spring.

Meister declined to share how much money was put into the rehab project outside of saying it was "significantly more" than the approximately $22.2 million estimated back in 2014.

"I am fortunate to work for a firm that has been committed to work through a very challenging project," Meister said.

Leon de la Vega said that the The Robey and The Hollander will add 122 jobs to the neighborhood. Hiring will start in September.

Built in 1929, The Northwest Tower was the first skyscraper to be built outside of the Loop. The original drawings from architecture firm Perkins, Chatten & Hammond, which designed the tower, will be framed and displayed in The Robey, Meister said.

"Robey" was once the name for Damen Avenue during the 1890s, but it was changed to Damen in 1927, according to reports.

After the meeting, John Poplawsky, a Wicker Park resident, said that he is excited for the hotel to open.

"It will boost the economy, with tourism and [new] jobs. It will be a window into the future, like a business card for Wicker Park," Poplawsky said.

Grupo Habita operates 14 hotels in Mexico as well as the Hotel Americano in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood. The New York hotel opened in 2011 and is the firm's largest hotel, with 56 rooms.


The Hollander Seeks Liquor License at Base of New Wicker Park Hotel (June 14, 2016)

Northwest Tower Boutique Hotel FINALLY Has a Name (June 8, 2016)

New Wicker Park Hotel Will Include a Second Restaurant Next to Pool (Aug. 26, 2015)

Northwest Tower: Hotel Developers Share Plans for Art Deco Corner Jewel (Oct. 16, 2013)

Tenants Leaving Northwest Tower in Wicker Park, Future May Be as a Hotel (March 8, 2013)

Pepper Construction carpenter Tony Rodriguez waits for his shift to start, 7 a.m. Thursday. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

Looking at The Hollander and The Robey from the south. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

View from the 10th floor of the Northwest Tower. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

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