In September 2010 Virgin Group announced the launch of a four-star, lifestyle hotel company-Virgin Hotels. Its first planned property, the Virgin Hotel Chicago, opens three years later in fall of 2013.
The long build-up to a hotel isn't for lack of funds. Virgin Hotels bought the vintage-1928 Dearborn Bank Building, an office building in Chicago's Loop area, in an all-cash transaction and has an additional $500 million committed to growing the hotel company.
"The building, long neglected and registered as a historic landmark in 2003, deserves the proper time, care and renovation we're giving it now with the landmarks office of the city of Chicago and our developer partner, John Buck Company," says Anthony Marino, managing partner, Leisure and Hospitality, Virgin Group and head of Virgin Hotels. "It would be quick and easy to paint it red and call it a day-but that's not Virgin. 203 North Wabash is a substantial building with beautiful historic features-and secrets-that we're renovating and, equally important, updating with essential modern amenities. Virgin fans won't be disappointed."
Converting the art deco Chicago office building may have been first on the agenda, but another property may come online first.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we announce something that will be sooner than that," says Marino, though he can't say where. "We're focused on all the major markets, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, the major urban centers in the U.S. We are looking at everything from renovation of existing hotels to [adaptive reuse of] office buildings. We're looking at some ground-up development. It depends. It just so happens Chicago is an old office building. In some markets that's the right type of product for us to pursue.
Source: lhonline.com; To continue reading 'Click Here'.