OLD TOWN — Longtime staple O'Brien's Restaurant & Bar will be closed for 1½ years while crews build a 13-story hotel on the site.
The last day to get a bite at the restaurant, 1528 N. Wells St., is Aug. 31, according to a Facebook post. The owner didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.
The restaurant, which has called Old Town home for more than 35 years, will reopen "better than ever" within the hotel, which is being built on the same site, according to the post.
In the meantime, patrons are encouraged to visit O'Brien's riverwalk cafe.
At community meetings, most neighbors opposed the hotel 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.
Despite opposition, the project was approved by the city's Plan Commission in June. Plans include a "four-star" hotel with a rooftop lounge, a patisserie, meeting rooms and a new white tablecloth restaurant in addition to O'Brien's.
The hotel will offer up to 200 rooms averaging 350 square feet. An underground parking garage will have room for up to 60 cars.
Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), whose ward includes the project, 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.
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