By LINDSAY WELBERS
The Shoreland Hotel should have renters by August and construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Peter Cassel, spokesman for Antheus Capital, said the gut rehab of the historic former hotel is about two-thirds complete.
Once the $50 million renovation is finished, the Shoreland, 5454 S. Shore Drive, will have 330 apartments. Cassel hopes to rent the first floor banquet hall to a restaurant. The second floor ballroom, Cassel said, will be fully renovated and they hope to use it as an event space for parties.
“Our hope is we can find somebody who wants to run that restaurant, who wants to run that catering company,” Cassel said.
The ballroom was originally constructed in a Spanish revival style. In the 1930s, it was renovated in an art deco style. Large, decorative pieces of the façade were removed and will be repurposed within the building “to provide historical continuity with modern juxtaposition,” Cassel said.
Outside of University of Chicago-owned properties there aren’t many large rooms to hold parties or events in Hyde Park, Cassel said. He hopes to partner with a catering or event management company who will manage the space.
Once completed, the building should be a thoughtful mishmash of its original Spanish revival, renovated art deco and contemporary décor.
To help relieve parking congestion, the building’s original court was excavated so 40 parking spaces could be created. Once construction is finished, the parking deck will be covered.
The original portico will remain as a prominent feature. Literally removing the ground beneath it meant constructing scaffolding to hold it in place, floating at least 15 feet above the ground below it.
“I’ll admit two years ago it seemed like a wild idea, but today it’s possible,” Cassel said.
Underneath the 12-story building, a parking garage has been added. Once completed the building will have space for 130 vehicles, and the option but not obligation to use valet parking and stackers. Using those would allow for up to 250 parking spaces, with added cost and hassle. Whether or not those are options the management company MAC Properties chooses to use depends on the demands of the tenants, he said.
Historic tax credits allowed Antheus to receive a 20 percent credit on every dollar spent restoring the building, Cassel said.
The Shoreland was constructed as a hotel in 1926. It had 1,000 guest rooms and for decades, celebrities, politicians and notable people visited, stayed or kept offices and conducted business there.
The University of Chicago used it as a dormitory starting in the 1970s. Several walls on each floor are still painted with student art, visible during renovation. The university sold the building and students did not return after the 2008-2009 year.
Antheus purchased it in 2009.