Hyatt son to turn Chicago building into boutique hotel

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 19, 2012 3:39 PM
Hyatt son to turn Chicago building into boutique hotel

By Chris Francescani

(Reuters) - One of Chicago's historic Michigan Avenue buildings has been purchased by the son of late Hyatt Hotels Corp founder Jay Pritzker and an investment company, a spokesman for the investment firm AJ Capital Partners said on Thursday.

John Pritzker and AJ Capital Partners will pay $13 million for the Chicago Athletic Association building, and another $47 million to turn it into a boutique luxury hotel, said Jeff Broaden of AJ Capital, who manages investor relations, said in an email message.

The Chicago Athletic Association building was once home to the city's premiere gentlemen's club of the same name in the 1890s. When member William Wrigley purchased the Chicago Cubs in 1915, he adopted the club's logo for the team.

The building's rare Venetian Gothic façade, designed by architect Henry Ives Cobb, is located along the city's Michigan Avenue Historic District, facing Grant Park, where President Barack Obama's presidential election victory rally was held in 2008.

"Whenever a building can be repurposed as close to its original intent as possible, that's always a plus," said Jonathan Fine, executive director of Preservation Chicago.

"A boutique hotel has always been the ideal use for this building. There's some cache in saying you stayed in a hotel where William Wrigley once stayed. That's why people visit Chicago, for interesting stories like that."

(Reporting By Chris Francescani; Editing by Greg McCune and Richard Chang)