Downtown Chicago

Hotels are popping up left and right around Chicago, from the heart of downtown to down near McCormick Place. While some are totally new constructions, others are breathing new life into the architecture of historic buildings. Here are just a few of these new hotel in historic buildings that will open in downtown Chicago over the next couple years.

Chicago Motor Club Building

The Chicago Motor Club Building (above), a once flashy art deco skyscraper just steps from the Michigan Avenue Bridge, has been dormant since 1996. Designed by Holabird and Root in 1927 for a club of avid car enthusiasts, it is to be reborn as a hotel in 2015. The developer for the 15-story building plans to convert its former offices into 144 hotel rooms over the short course of 90 days. Hotel guests will have a pretty cool experience when they step into its lofty lobby, which has a 90-foot wide mural of the U.S. highway system.

New York Life Building

The New York Life Building (above) on Lasalle Street will also become a hotel in 2016. Built in 1894 for an insurance company, it has grand marble staircases at its main entrance, but when you step into it today you can feel it needs a little pick-me-up. The new hotel located in the heart of Chicago's financial district will fit 281 rooms into its 14 stories, and likely bring its elegant lobby back to a more stately state. This will be following in the line of several Kimpton Hotels in historic buildings in downtown Chicago. 

Chicago Athletic Association Building 

The former Chicago Athletic Association building (above), a landmark right on Michigan Avenue, is currently being transformed into a boutique hotel. Architect Henry Ives Cobb, who was a busy guy down on the University of Chicago campus, designed the Michigan Avenue façade for this private club with Venetian-gothic lacey stone window frames. It was built just in time to impress and house visitors for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.

An annex added a couple decades later made the whole thing into an L-shaped building, and both buildings will comprise what is expected to be added to Chicago's roster of high-design, high-end hotels.

The very fashionable architecture firm of Roman and Williams, based in Manhattan, is managing the renovation. Unfortunately the marble swimming pool and other historic features of its interior had to be demolished for the project, but many opulent and ornate features of its architecture will remain. Once the hotel opens next year, you'll be able to walk through its halls and see intricately designed mosaic floors, carved wooden doors, and stained glass windows. 

The renovation of historic buildings into hotels is a growing trend with old buildings being too archaic for office use, but their charm is appreciated by visitors wanting a unique experience of Chicago history and architecture.

Photos Courtesy of: Chicago Motor Club Building by Jaysin Trevino via flickr (CC BY 2.0); New York Life Building via Wikipedia Commons; Chicago Athletic Association Building by Seth Anderson via flickr (CC BY 2.0)