For the first time ever, a hotel will be built on Chicago’s Navy Pier, the most visited attraction in the Midwest. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Navy Pier, Inc. President and CEO Marilynn Gardner announced that the new hotel is part of Navy Pier’s Centennial Vision plan, a multiphase restructuring of the 100-year-old landmark. The project will begin construction in 2017 and has an opening slated for late 2018.
“Navy Pier is Chicago’s front door, serving as a beacon to visitors and one of our city’s great economic and cultural sites. This new hotel will continue transforming the city into a one-of-a-kind destination that will draw even more visitors from across the region and throughout the world,” said Emanuel. “[It] will be a key part of the transformation and our efforts to bring 55 million visitors to Chicago annually by 2020.”
For the first time in its history, Navy Pier will offer guests an opportunity to spend the night on the Pier. Comprised of five stories overlooking South Dock, the new hotel will be located on the east end next to Festival Hall. The hotel will have more than 200 guest rooms, which will be built above the south-facing Festival Hall terraces. Guests will have spectacular views of the city, Lake Michigan and the Pier.
“As we continue to reimagine the Pier for its centennial and beyond, we are thrilled with the prospect of a hotel to further enhance the Navy Pier experience,” Gardner said. “The hotel will provide a unique place to stay in Chicago year round–not to mention breathtaking and unparalleled views of the Pier, lake and city.”
Renowned architect Jackie Koo, whose portfolio includes the Wit hotel and other commercial and residential properties, has developed the preliminary design for the hotel. The $90 million project is privately funded and will be developed and operated by First Hospitality Group. The hotel brand will be determined at a later date.
The conceptual design for the hotel consists of steel and glass bay windows and balconies that complement the existing architectural elements of Navy Pier. Each room is expected to include a balcony and bay window, showcasing one of the most distinctive views of the lake and city.
The announcement comes on the cusp of Navy Pier’s Centennial Celebration, which affords visitors the opportunity to witness the historic redevelopment efforts that have taken place. Last month, the 200-foot-tall Centennial Wheel opened in place of the old Ferris wheel, boasting sky-high views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. The wheel can hold around 500 people at a time, and features temperature controlled gondolas that enable operation year-round.