South Loop Spy David hit the tip line to let us know that the Essex Inn is asking the city for permission not only to renovate, but to expand.
He received a letter from the developer’s lawyer detailing the proposal. It wants to refurbish the existing 15-story tower at 800 South Michigan Avenue, and then replace the low-rise portion immediately to the south with a 48-story residential tower.
The new building would have 400 residences above parking and ground-floor retail space. There’s not much space here, so there’s a chance that we won’t see an off-the-shelf Chicago parking podium followed by a tower. This could be more like 200 North Michigan where the non-tower portion is remarkably minimal compared to its contemporaries going up across the city. But what might 48 stories of building look like pressed up against Grant Park? We’re glad you asked:
As you may recall, the Essex Inn was actually bought by Oxford Capital Group LLC (which is the group behind the 5-Star hotel The Langham) back in November of 2014. Things have been pretty quiet since then, but this is the first major news we've heard on what they might have in store.