New design renderings were released for “straight-friendly” hotel proposed for 3343 N. Halsted St. in June after developer Ian Reisner and architects at Koo and Associates listened to neighbors and drastically altered the project.
Reisner cut off an additional two stories off the estimated 112-room hotel, creating an 8-story building with a setback on the top floor, giving the illusion of 7-stories. In addition, the hotel moved from hovering over Sidetrack to over Wood on the south end, as well as eliminating all balconies.
Still, the 5-member board each voted to deny sending a letter to Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) expressing their support for the project, as presented Tuesday.
BHN’s newly elected board member John Black—who was yet not eligible to vote on the hotel—says the OUT Hotel simply doesn’t fit in with Lake View.
“You’re trying to fit too large of a hotel into a space that it’s not suited for, and with all do respect to the architecture firm and your views on iconic Chicago architecture, this is not going to be an icon of Chicago architecture,” Black said. “It looks like a hotel was built over a building you could not knock down or get the rights to use.”
Others in the room had other gripes, specifically about the kind of traffic a hotel would bring to neighborhood streets, losing natural light in their homes, what it would do for rising crime rates and what it would do to property values.
Almost every resident who spoke at the meeting voiced concerns versus support, all of which Reisner and architect Jackie Koo attempted to debunk. They believe traffic and parking will remain relatively the same because the OUT doesn’t add bars or restaurants to the corridor, and that many patrons will use public transportation.
In addition, Reisner says the addition of 24-hour security presence on the street will only decrease crime, and that a 4-star boutique resort will increase property values.
“I'm bringing a major lifestyle resort to a neighborhood might increase property values,” Reisner said. “I don’t hear other people talking about bringing a major resort to a neighborhood with high crime, that has businesses that are telling me their business is down. So I’m surprised I’m not hearing anyone speak about the vibrancy a 4-star hotel would bring to the neighborhood.”
One of the few who did speak up in favor of Reisner's plan was John Cunningham, a resident of Halsted Street who recently purchased his home. After many concerns about the hotel, he says he’s disappointed to hear the lack of support for the project.
“Every day we have to worry about getting mugged while going to the train, and we don’t have the tax dollars to help that, but we’re worried if someone is going to have light for their plant in one house,” Cunningham said. “… We have got to invest in our community. At the end of the day, you’re worried about a few property values going down. I’m worried about an entire neighborhood going to crap.”
The room applauded after his speech despite the long string of complaints.
BHN’s decision not to send a letter of recommendation to Tunney is not binding or a final decision, but a representation of the neighborhood’s feelings. Neighboring organization Triangle Neighbors has yet to vote on the proposal.