New four-star lifestyle hotel brand Virgin Hotels will convert the former office building and expects to re-open it as Virgin Hotel Chicago in the fall of 2013.
Anthony Marino, Managing Partner, Leisure and Hospitality, Virgin Group and head of Virgin Hotels, said: “This transaction is a first step towards our goal of building a portfolio of hotels that anticipate and respond to the needs of today’s travelers and set a new standard for the industry.
“The Virgin Hotels team is focused on finding the best locations and strongest partners to bring Virgin’s product vision to life for our 60 million customers around the world.”
The 27-story Art Deco building purchased by Virgin Hotels is a Chicago landmark that was designed by C.W. and George L. Rapp Architects in 1928. It is located at 203 N. Wabash Avenue and has significant historic and architectural features that will be restored and recreated.
Plans for the Virgin Hotel include 250 guest rooms and feature meeting spaces, restaurants, lounges and other public areas that reflect the Virgin brand’s stylish and functional legacy.
Virgin Hotels President and COO Raul Leal commented: “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.
“But it also has a world-renowned architectural heritage, and we are eager to contribute to its continued acclaim.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said: “This investment is another great example of the hotel community’s support and commitment to Chicago, as well as their faith in the future of tourism in the city.
“We commend Virgin Hotels for the 675 construction jobs and many permanent jobs they will create in Chicago, and we welcome the visitors they will bring to enjoy the city’s cultural attractions and offerings.”
Virgin Hotels has an active pipeline of properties in gateway cities, including Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, and London, locations where Virgin Hotels is pursuing hotel and office conversions, as well as ground-up development.
Marino added that it is highly likely one or more Virgin Hotels will open before Virgin Hotel Chicago, due to the company’s anticipated development growth.
Also in US today, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to Chicago.
City.Mobi offers the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the City.Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.
Chicago.mobi is the latest in this illustrious line up, offering click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers.
Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.
Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.
City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.