[via THS Director Dennis Wilhelm, Miami Beach, FL]October 24, 2011 By Alejandra Cancino and Blair Kamin, Tribune reporters Chicago Tribune, CityScapes
The Virgin Group’s hotel chain said Monday that it purchased the Old Dearborn Bank Building in the Loop, which it expects to reopen as a hotel in the fall of 2013.
The 27-story Art Deco building at 203 N. Wabash Ave. will be converted into a 250-room hotel, with restaurants, lounges and other public areas, Virgin Hotels said in a news release.
“Chicago is a top destination for pleasure and business, with all the qualities we look for in Virgin Hotels locations: it’s economically vibrant, culturally exciting, and a sports and entertainment hub,” said Raul Leal, president and COO of Virgin Hotels. “But it also has a world-renowned architectural heritage, and we are eager to contribute to its continued acclaim.”
The John Buck Company was chosen to redevelop the building. The architects of the building, Rapp & Rapp, are best known for their elaborate movie palaces, such as the Chicago Theater and the Oriental Theatre, but they have also designed office buildings.
Located at the northeast corner of Lake and Wabash Avenues, the Old Dearborn Bank Building was designated an official Chicago landmark in 2003. Clad in brick, it has terra cotta ornament that depicts medieval and mythological figures.
“The design of the building successfully blends the overall straight-forward form of Chicago Commercial skyscrapers with the exotic ornament more typical of movie ‘palaces’ of the 1920s,” according to the City of Chicago’s description of the building. …
For the City of Chicago Landmark’s listing go to http://webapps.cityofchicago.org/landmarksweb/web/landmarkdetails.htm?lanId=1387