Kimpton Hotels Buys Historic Chicago Office, Plans $86M Conversion

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants looked at an office building in Chicago and saw a boutique lodging destination.
The New York Life Building

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants looked at an office building in Chicago and saw a boutique lodging destination. Acting through its KHP III fund, the company acquired the 215,000-square-foot New York Life Building from Hamilton Partners, and will transform the 14-story property into a four-star, 281-room hotel at a cost of $86 million.

“Buildings like this one offer great opportunities for us to showcase our expertise in adaptive reuse,” Kimpton CEO Michael Depatie told Commercial Property Executive.

Sited at 39 S. LaSalle St., the New York Life Building  first opened its doors in 1894, and grew in size with the addition of another floor in 1898 and yet another in 1903. The office building was designed by William Le Baron Jenney, often referred to as the father of the skyscraper. Now, Kimpton has tapped architectural firm Gensler to spearhead the reinvention of the project, while respecting the building’s architectural integrity.

In addition to premier guestrooms, the hotel will feature 9,500 square feet of retail offerings and 12,500 square feet of event space. With this project, Kimpton increases its Chicago portfolio to five properties. The company, which currently owns 60 hotels, is clearly keen on the Windy City.

“Kimpton has always had strong Midwest roots; our founder, Bill Kimpton, was a native of Chicago, and our hotels here have always been very popular,” Depatie said. “Also, Chicago is an architecturally rich city, with many amazing, historic buildings. As a leader in adaptive reuse projects, that makes the city especially attractive to us from a development standpoint.”

Kimpton has been active in the adaptive reuse of properties since 1992, having converted 13 historic buildings, and the stream of projects continues to flow. The company will open the Hotel Monaco in Pittsburgh and the Palladian Hotel in Seattle in December of this year. The Emma Hotel, part of the Pearl Brewery Development, will make its debut in 2015, as will the redeveloped RJ Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem, N.C. The transformed New York Life Building will welcome its first guests in the first quarter of 2016.