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Construction to Start in May on the First Ever Virgin Hotel in Chicago

Where: 203 N. Wabash [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60601
April 4, 2012 at 4:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

It seemed so far off and almost unreal, until now; we just learned from Crain’s Chicago Business that construction on Richard Branson’s first ever Virgin Hotel set to open in Chicago will begin this May. No change to the opening date, so we’re still planning to kick back in pop Branson-esque rooms there by Fall of 2013. (How do you do neon right in a luxury hotel?)

In a surprise brilliant move last fall, Virgin threw the ultimate nod to Chicago by announcing the purchase of the Old Dearborn Bank, a landmarked Art Deco building originally built in 1928. Starting in May, Virgin will redevlop the 27-story, 136,000-square-foot office space into 250 hotel rooms. According to Crain’s, the rehab will come complete with pools and saunas. (Will there be both a rooftop doozy and one that takes advantage of Millennium Park views?)

Since the announcement, Virginites have been intrigued by the always-cutting-edge Branson’s choice to redevelop an historic space over constructing something new. They are not the least surprised, though, by his decision to open his first hotel in Chicago’s architecturally rich and ever-shi-shi North Loop. One block from the Chicago River and one block from the Magnificent Mile, and neck-in-neck with neighboring hotel greats like Trump Tower, Kimpton’s Monaco and theWit, Chicago’s Virgin Hotel is primly positioned to blow travelers away. (Oy, where to stay when the doors open?)

Virgin has been uber-clear about its commitment to restore and recreate the historic Old Dearborn Bank; though in nearly the same breath, Sir Branson has promised a hotel line that will be “the hippest and most comfortable in any city.” We dig that kind of hotel challenge and are excited to see how it all pans out, especially since Branson is a man who knows how to deliver.

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