Pardon the Dust: A Hard Hat Tour of Laurence Geller's Chicago Conrad Hotel
Laurence Geller's Conrad Hotel at 101 E Erie will be delivered next summer. We got a hard hat tour of the ongoing construction in advance of Bisnow's Hospitality Boom! Hotel Development and Investment event, Dec. 10 at Trump Hotel, where Laurence is a featured panelist.
Laurence is out of the country on business, so Geller Investments VP John Ryden led our tour, starting with the renovations to the building's facade. John says the entrance will be extended about three feet closer to the street to add retail space. The pillars on the right will be inside the building. The outside will become a plaza and café.
The 20-story, 228k SF building, formerly home to ad agency DraftFCB, was purchased by a venture led by Laurence last December. John says the 30-year-old building's elevator banks are being replaced to accommodate hotel customers to the Conrad's lobby on the 20th floor. The hotel will occupy the building's eighth through 20th floors. In this photo, you can see the elevator banks in their current configuration.
Pictured: The Conrad's future lobby and bar on the 20th floor. John says the top floor will also contain a café and restaurant service.
Most of the Conrad's 18th floor is dedicated to conference rooms. In this picture, construction crews have set up their own boardroom desk. This part of the space will be split into two separate meeting rooms by the time the Conrad opens.
John says one of the biggest issues when adapting an old office building for hospitality is maximizing the floor plate space and shortening the hallways so that guests don't have far to walk to their rooms. The Conrad's hotel rooms (pictured: a double bed room) will feature long, narrow entrances and extra-long vanities.
For guests who want more space, corner suites are being constructed with floor-to-ceiling windows and dynamite views of downtown. These suites will feature separate sleeping, sitting and bathrooms.
Another issue in adaptive reuse is reinforcing floor plate space to accommodate modern HVAC and water heater systems. John says the concrete floors on the ninth floor, where the water heater systems will be, wouldn't be able to handle the weight. Steel platforms (shown) were installed and bolted into the building's foundation pillars to accommodate the system.
What Does the Fox Say?
Here's a sign of the Conrad's past life as an ad agency: marker doodlings on the windows of one of the hotel's future suites. To learn more about the Conrad and Laurence's plans in Chicago, please attend Bisnow's Hospitality Boom! Hotel Development and Investment event, Dec. 10 at 7am, at the Trump Hotel. Register here.