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Old March 2nd, 2005, 02:48 PM   #1
BVictor1
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CHICAGO | Blackstone Hotel Renovation | Com

Developer: Sage Hospitality
Architect: Lucien Lagrange Architects
Location: South Michigan and East Balbo
Construction end: 2007


Maharishi finds buyer for transcendent mess
March 2, 2005
BY DAVID ROEDER SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST

We've heard this before -- there's a plan to breathe new life into the landmark Blackstone Hotel at 636 S. Michigan. Only this time there could be real money and skill behind the deal.

The Blackstone, which has been closed since 1999, is under contract to be sold to Denver-based Sage Hospitality Resources LLP. A source said the contract is for around $24 million and will close in a few weeks and perhaps sooner.

The seller is Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the transcendental meditation guru whose strange ideas about Chicago real estate included trying to turn the building into a condo property posher than the Gold Coast. Without the Gold Coast location, he couldn't sell any units.

But it's really a three-way deal. Sources said Sage Hospitality is in talks with the city over a substantial subsidy for the project. The decrepit hotel needs a gut rehab and cost estimates for that have ranged as high as $100 million.

This time, the Blackstone would remain as a hotel. Art Burrows, the property's broker and senior vice president at NAI Hiffman, said any plan to make it residential would require expensive configuration for internal parking. He declined to discuss anything about the deal.

Sage Hospitality President Walter Isenberg couldn't be reached Tuesday and city officials were unavailable to discuss the subsidy talks. Isenberg's firm runs the Essex Inn at 800 S. Michigan, one of downtown's cheapest hotels. Its other hotels around the country include urban rehabs in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Denver.

Last edited by i_am_hydrogen; August 31st, 2007 at 06:48 PM. Reason: Added project info.
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Old March 2nd, 2005, 09:10 PM   #2
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Strange.. condos would work wonderfully in that area as long as they weren't of the Gold Coast variety. Maybe the high cost of renovating details, etc. in accordance with the landmark status require something with a higher return?
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Old December 23rd, 2005, 05:44 PM   #3
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...i-business-hed

Deal completed for Blackstone
Published December 23, 2005

A joint venture that includes Denver-based Sage Hospitality Resources LLC has closed on the acquisition of the shuttered Blackstone Hotel at 636 S. Michigan Ave., and plans to reopen the property in less than two years. A non-profit group headed by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi owned the 22-story building. After an unsuccessful attempt to convert it into condominiums, the group hired Oakbrook Terrace-based real estate firm NAI Hiffman to market the property. Sage's joint-venture partner in the $112 million project is JPMorgan Fleming Asset Management, said Kenneth Geist, a partner in Sage. The 327-room property will be part of the Marriott Renaissance chain but will retain its historic name.
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Old December 23rd, 2005, 06:12 PM   #4
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Hope the Sage developers restore the Blackstone Hotel to its original glory.
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 12:13 AM   #5
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I guess Lucien is doing the renovation.



What a crime...
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 12:25 AM   #6
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Looks good to me! What's wrong w/ it spyguy?
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 12:43 AM   #7
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No, I'm happy about the redevelopment. But it's sad that it was left to crumble until now.
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Old February 2nd, 2006, 04:47 AM   #8
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..

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Old May 18th, 2006, 11:24 PM   #9
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http://www.globest.com/news/554_554/.../145850-1.html

McHugh Lands $112M Blackstone Renovation

Denver-based Sage Hospitality Resources has hired James McHugh Construction Co. to renovate the historic Blackstone Hotel at 636 S. Michigan Ave. The $112-million project is expected to bring 330 hotel rooms to the South Loop next fall, eight years after the last guests checked out.
In the intervening years, plans were announced for a condominium conversion, which failed to materialize. Maharishi Royal Residences, LLC sold the Blackstone Hotel in December for $18 million. The hotel will reopen as a Marriott Renaissance property, with a restored lobby, ballroom and second-story restaurant overlooking Grant Park. The restaurant will be built in space that was part of the old Mayfair Theatre.

Because of its landmark status, the Blackstone Hotel project will include restoring the terra cotta facade and mansard roof. The city is committing up to $18 million in tax increment financing to Sage Hospitality Resources as an incentive.

McHugh has established itself in the hotel sector, building or renovating 4,000 rooms during the last 10 years. Its projects include the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro, Hotel 71, Hotel Monaco and Hotel Allegro.
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Old December 4th, 2006, 05:08 AM   #10
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The next Friends of Downtown Brown Bag presentation

Thursday, December 7th at 12.15
Chicago Cultural Center
Millennium Park Room, 5th floor southeast

Blackstone Hotel Renovation

Representatives from Sage Hospitality will discuss the history, acquisition and renovation of the Blackstone Hotel. As announced in 2005, the hotel is undergoing a $112 million renovation with a planned opening in 2007 in a deal between Marriott Renaissance and Sage Hospitality, a Denver-based company. Named for Timothy B. Blackstone, a prominent railroad executive and the founding president of the Union Stock Yards whose mansion had stood on the site, it is planned that the new building will retain its historic name.

---------------------------

Anyone know if they're going to restore the roof to the original green color or not? That would make quite an impact from different skyline views.
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Old December 4th, 2006, 05:16 AM   #11
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Are you sure the roof was green? I would have assumed zinc or lead rather than copper for the mansard.
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Old December 4th, 2006, 05:40 AM   #12
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^Well I'm basing this off of old postcards that I've seen before, like:



or

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Old December 7th, 2006, 11:57 PM   #13
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I asked about the roof at the Brown Bag today. The original mansard was green terra-cotta (!). The replacement roof will be standing-seam metal, and once again will be green.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 12:51 AM   #14
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^Then it is confirmed. It'll be quite different seeing this building with green at the top.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 03:53 PM   #15
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what other details about the renovations/restorations were given? are they restoring the ballroom and or lobby area?

did any one ask if they could buy the vacant land to the west of their building on Wabash and build the second tower that was originally proposed? actually, im sure noone asked, i wold have, but went up to the observation deck of sears for the first time, then went to milwaukee.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 07:40 PM   #16
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Total project cost is $112m. Exterior renovation is $10m of that. $18m comes from TIF district. Finished project will have 332 guestrooms and 13,000 sq ft meeting space. Opening is fall 2007.

The original city landmark designation specified several public spaces to be protected, including the lobby and entrances. The city's TIF contribution allowed them to add several more, so now there are 7 or 8 protected elements, including the marble-lined barber shop (will be a meeting room), the Presidential Suite, and the "smoke-filled room." The SHPO has also been pushing on corridors, but this is essentially a gut job that's completely reconfiguring the guestroom floors. For one thing, the original bathrooms were along the outside walls (for ventilation, I guess). They're building out the guestroom floors with a more conventional modern layout, so I guess they've run all new stacks.

They mentioned the planned second tower in telling the building's history.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 08:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BVictor1 View Post
what other details about the renovations/restorations were given? are they restoring the ballroom and or lobby area?

did any one ask if they could buy the vacant land to the west of their building on Wabash and build the second tower that was originally proposed? actually, im sure noone asked, i wold have, but went up to the observation deck of sears for the first time, then went to milwaukee.

I thought I heard rumors that an aloft hotel was proposed at that site. The article I read said they were close to completing the deal. And I think if you go to the site today, there is a rendering of a different building there - more of a squat glass office type building (but it has been there for a LONG time).
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Old December 9th, 2006, 08:41 AM   #18
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I saw plenty of these mansard-type buildings in Washington recently. They looked amazing, and really added to the streetscape, so I'm glad that OUR best example is getting a makeover.
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Old December 9th, 2006, 08:03 PM   #19
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I wish some of this hotel renovation momentum would make its way over the Congress Hotel. That building has excellent history, architectural bones, and location to be a real stunner. But, as it stands now, it is a total rat hole.
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Old December 11th, 2006, 07:15 AM   #20
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