Some $20 million worth of renovations are nearing completion at a Rosemont hotel, expected to reopen by May.
A 200-room Hyatt Place Hotel is one piece of the former Wyndham O'Hare Hotel, at 6810 N. Mannheim Road, which shut its doors in January 2010. Once Hyatt Place opens, another $4 million to $10 million of renovations are planned to convert the back portion of the old hotel into a 200-room La Quinta Inns & Suites, according to Tom Busch, La Quinta's Midwest director of hotel development.
"The interior and exterior is amazing," Busch said of the renovations that have been completed to date. "It's not like you're building something new on flat green field land. This is a retrofit and it's an amazing amount of work."
The rear four-story hotel, located next to the parking lot of the Allstate Arena, was constructed in the early 1960s, and the front hotel was built later as an eight-story addition. Plans now call for the connecting piece that had served as the Wyndham lobby to be demolished.
A complete gut and remodel of the tower that will become Hyatt Place has been underway for the last two years. Some walls were torn down to make larger rooms than at the old Wyndham, which had a total of 466 rooms. The refurbished hotel will include a new indoor pool, meeting rooms and restaurant, said Samir Lakhany, vice president of Superhost Enterprise, a hotel management firm that's part of the ownership group and is leading the redevelopment project.
On the outside, bricks on the north, south and middle portions of the building have been repainted a maroon color, while the first-floor building entrance has been reclad with stone. Crews are also installing a porte-cochere for cars to pass through at the entrance.
Next Tuesday, the Rosemont zoning board will consider variations to allow a building height of 92 feet, 11 inches, or whatever is permitted by the Federal Aviation Administration, to account for placing a sign at the top of the building. The owners are also seeking permission to install a new ground sign on Mannheim, and wall signs on four sides of the building.
Busch said plans for redevelopment of the rear hotel and proposed demolition of the connecting piece are now under review by Rosemont officials. Plans calls for an existing outdoor pool to be cemented over for new parking. A shuttered indoor pool will be renovated inside the new La Quinta.
What's still in doubt is the future of a small historic Tudor-style stone building next to the outdoor pool. A Rosemont history book developed for the village's 50th anniversary says the building at one time served as the Arthur Swanson architect studio.
Busch said there's some who want to keep it, and others who don't, but much depends on the architectural plans the village will approve for the entire complex.
Busch estimates it could be at least another year or year-and-a-half before the La Quinta is complete.
The old hotel shut down in the midst of a struggling hospitality market. It was purchased in August 2012 by Glenview-based U.S. Asia Investment Group, headed by Eric Chang.
Hyatt Place rooms are estimated to be in the $169-$249 per night price range, and La Quinta will be $129-149 per night.