The Windy City’s legendary Ambassador East Hotel is about to get a major, long overdue makeover. Independent hotelier, Ian Schrager, launched this project – his first since 2008’s financial crash – last week.
If you don’t know the name, Schrager is responsible for other major hotel renovations including the Delano in Miami Beach, the Gramercy in New York, and the Mondrian in Los Angeles. And when Mr. Schrager gets busy on a project you can definitely expect classy layouts and cutting edge amenities.
The Ambassador East Hotel dates back to 1926 and is situated in the Gold Coast lakefront residential neighborhood. It lies about a mile north of Chicago’s Loop. Schrager scooped up the hotel back in the spring of 2010 for $25 million – a steal considering that the Harp Group bought it just five years earlier for a whopping $44.5 million. It ended up being an arranged short sale – yep they have those for hotels, too!
Of course, hotel renovations don’t come cheap. Schrager has already put $35 million into it, which comes to about $200,000 per room. But, if you want to stay at the Public when it’s all done, you may not break the bank. The 285 rooms, about 30% of which are suites, will start around $135 a night. (That’s pretty good for downtown Chicago!)
When the project is finished, the hotel will be called the Public and it will be a featured boutique hotel in Chi Town.