By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor
A massive redevelopment plan is surfacing again for the strategic parcel of land located near McCormick Place on two square blocks between Cermak Road and 21st Street. As the Chicago Journal reported earlier this year, the $550 million project, called Prairie Blocks, could include two new luxury hotels with a total of 1,790 rooms upon completion.
Conveniently located close to McCormick Place, the developers plan to take full advantage of convention attendees. Although the idea hasn’t been pitched to the public yet, the developers envision one 700-room hotel that would be operated by the Morgans Hotel Group and a second hotel that would be developed by the Continental Cos. The first would also feature a 500-seat entertainment venue and a rooftop restaurant.
The entire project would offer up to 120,000 square feet of meeting space and 1,000 parking spaces. The developers are also targeting 100,000 square feet of commercial spaces that will feature high-end restaurants, entertainment, retail and a state-of-the-art fitness center.
The plans also highlight the significant number of jobs that the project would create: 3,000 during construction, 2,000 permanent hotel jobs and 800 permanent jobs for the retail and restaurant segment.
The property is involved in a bankruptcy case at the moment, providing a large hurdle in finding financers. Up to now, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Winners Development LLC has agreed to invest $40.2 million in the project, but that is far from enough to kick-start construction.
The initial projection for groundbreaking was June 2011, with an opening date set for 2013.