Bellwether state: What’s up and coming in Illinois

Illinois is considered by some to be a microcosm of the entire country. The fifth most populous state in the U.S.—widely known for Route 66; Springfield, home of Abraham Lincoln; and the country’s third most populous city, Chicago—is brimming with new projects.

In an exclusive report shared by TOPHOTELPROJECTS there are currently 46 projects and 8,235 rooms in the pipeline forecast for the state. Chicago is leading the hospitality development with 21 projects.

Marriott Marquis Chicago

Marriott Marquis Chicago Image courtesy of Isaac Maiselman.

The Windy City is soaring―and how! A huge addition to the Chicago skyline is the 1,205-room Marriott Marquis Chicago, which opened this past September. It is touted as the largest Marriott to open in North America this year and adds to the burgeoning entertainment and convention district of McCormick Square. Situated by Lake Michigan, downtown Chicago, and South Loop, the four-star hotel boasts over 93,000 square feet of event space, including two 25,000 square foot ballrooms, according to the hotel website. Of the 1,161 regular guest rooms, there are 26 club kings, 461 kings, and 674 doubles.

The guest rooms embody a high level of comfort with minimalistic and thoughtful design touches in cool shades of gray and white to complement the incredible view of the city. To further invite the city in, each room features unique lightbox artwork—the first of its kind within a hotel room—depicting various Chicago bridges and locations.

Making its debut is Viceroy Chicago. Viceroy Chicago, located in the exclusive Gold Coast neighborhood, marks Viceroy’s first destination in the Windy City. Located at the site of the 1920s-era Cedar Hotel, the hotel offers a locally-inspired luxury experience with 180 rooms and suites.

Grand ballroom Marriott Marquis Chicago

Grand ballroom, Marriott Marquis Chicago Image courtesy of Isaac Maiselman.

The hotel website describes it this way: “The brick and terracotta of the original Cedar Hotel exudes a traditional charm. The Cedar façade is an elevation composition of classical and baroque elements. By contrast, the glass curtain wall of the new hotel tower is a taut three-dimensional envelope. The unique ‘folding’ geometry creates a seamless overall composition without a specific orientation.”

Viceroy Chicago

Viceroy Chicago Image courtesy of Viceroy Chicago.

A dual-branded hotel is set to open at the mixed-use development located in the Illinois Medical District, just two miles west of the Chicago Loop. The Homewood Suites Illinois Medical District hotel, together with the Hampton Inn Illinois Medical District will offer a combined total of 240-rooms over 10 stories. The mixed-use development includes office space, retail, residential space, and a plaza fronting the hotel portion. Chicagobased Gateway Partners is developing the property, which will be located in the center of its innovative 10-acre mixed-use town center development, The Gateway. The property will be managed by the First Hospitality Group (FHG).

In addition to this, FHG is also managing Hilton’s first triple-brand hotel, consisting of Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn by Hilton, and Home2 Suites at McCormick Square. Officially named the Hilton Garden Inn Chicago McCormick Center, the project is expected to bring nearly 350 full-time jobs and more than 600 construction jobs to the local community, according to the hotel’s official press release. Construction commenced in January, with the triple-brand hotel slated to open in late 2018.

Illinois Medical District Gateway Chicago Illinois Plaza

Illinois Medical District Gateway Chicago Illinois Plaza Rendering courtesy of Epstein.

Enter London-based boutique chain The Hoxton. The Hoxton Hotel Chicago comes from prominent developer Shapack Partners, according to real estate blog network Curbed Chicago in a June report. When completed in 2018, the development will feature approximately 170 rooms, two levels of office space, ground-floor retail, and a rooftop terrace.

A seven-story hotel in Hyde Park, called Sophy, is set to open in 2018. Olympia Companies with Smart Hotels, LLC, are co-developing and managing this boutique hotel. The 98-room hotel will feature a lounge, restaurant area, and library all on the ground floor.

Olympia Companies has also been chosen to manage Hyatt Place & Hyatt House Quad Cities, comprised of a 134-room Hyatt Place and 99-room Hyatt House. The 132-acre multi-use development project is located at The Bend on the Mississippi River at the Quad Cities, which actually consists of five cities: Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline in Illinois and Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa. The hotel is scheduled to open in Spring 2018.

The Study at the University of Chicago has been announced. Hospitality 3 introduced the concept of Study Hotels in 2008, with their first ever project at Yale University. The lifestyle concept was conceived to accommodate the needs of university markets by offering full-service lodging. Weekly newspaper Hyde Park Herald reported that the 180-room hotel will be situated on the corner of 60th Street and Dorchester Avenue. The full-service hotel will be developed and owned by Hospitality 3. An opening date has not yet been released.


The Rose is expected to open in the third quarter of 2018. The five-story, 165-room hotel will be among the centerpieces of a new mixed-use development planned for a 16-acre site in Rosemont known as The Pearl District. The Rose is said to be the first boutique hotel in Rosemont.

An extended stay Home2 Suites By Hilton Carbondale is set to open in February 2018 in downtown Carbondale. Though the hotel has not confirmed the number of rooms, local television station WSIL-TV 3 reports that there will be 99. Located in the center of Southern Illinois Healthcare Systems, this hotel is specifically designed for travelers on business trips or extended stays.

Groundbreaking of Nobu Hotel Chicago

James Packer, Robert De Niro, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, and Meir Teper at the groundbreaking of Nobu Hotel Chicago in the year 2016. Image courtesy of Francis Son Photography.

The long awaited Nobu Hotel Chicago by celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa and actor, producer, and director Robert De Niro is expected to open in 2018. At press time, there are still doubts looming over the project. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the developer has run out of money and is waiting to raise more funds. This has pushed back the opening once again.

The story so far...

Despite a ceremonial groundbreaking in June 2016 and the construction permit, the development did not commence construction until May 2017, reported Curbed Chicago.

Nobu Hospitality had officially commenced development of the Nobu Hotel in Chicago at a groundbreaking ceremony along with the other two partners, Hollywood producer Meir Teper and Australian business tycoon James Packer way back in 2016.

The hotel is estimated to be built at a cost of $32.7 million, according to a Bisnow report released in August. The report says, “Construction of a fourth Fulton Market hotel is underway, as the Chicago Department of Buildings issued a construction permit allowing for the Nobu Hotel Chicago to go vertical.” The report also adds, “The main holdup impeding construction centered around the building’s height. Originally intended as an 11-story, 119-room hotel, the Nobu Chicago was scaled back to a seven-story, 90-room hotel after input from community groups before it was presented to the Plan Commission. According to the newest permit, the Nobu Chicago will rise [as] originally planned.”

The Nobu Hotel will be situated in the vibrant area of Chicago’s West Loop at 854 West Randolph Street and will feature:

  • 10,000 square foot signature Nobu restaurant with an indoor and outdoor bar opening on to Randolph’s famed Restaurant Row
  • 3,000 square foot, multi-use suite available for private social functions and meeting space
  • an indoor pool
  • state-of-the-art fitness center
  • spa treatment rooms
  • a rooftop indoor and outdoor bar and lounge

“We are extremely pleased… as the West Loop neighborhood is not only a culinary epicenter for renowned restaurants and chefs but also a highly desired destination for national and international travelers seeking world-class, enriching experiences,” said Trevor Horwell, chief executive of Nobu Hospitality, in a press release.


According to a recent report by Lodging Econometrics (L.E.) the U.S. construction pipeline stands at 5,011 projects with 608,837 rooms, up four percent year-over-year (YOY.)

There are 1,592 projects with 208,523 rooms under construction, up eight percent and seven percent YOY, respectively, the highest counts recorded this cycle.

Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months, at 2,198 projects with 251,259 rooms, are down one percent YOY. Projects in early planning are at 1,221 projects with 149,055 rooms. While these projects are up 10 percent YOY, the properties are smaller resulting in lower room-counts.

The pipeline continues to grow at a moderate, upward pace and has established a new peak for this cycle. The previous cycle peak reached 5,882 projects with 785,547 rooms in the second quarter of 2008. Current project counts are 15 percent below that level, while rooms are 22.5 percent behind. Any acceleration in the pipeline from its moderate growth rate is likely dependent on the tax plan and other economic measures being discussed in Congress.

By Dhwani Pathak Dave