James McHugh Construction Co. has completed the transformation of a 1960s-era downtown motel into the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro.
The 398-room Crowne Plaza’s was remodeled over more than four months and had a dated honeycombed concrete exterior that stuck out in the rejuvenated West Loop neighborhood. The property, at the southwest corner of Halsted and Madison streets, is close to the financial district, medical district and entertainment venues.
Working as general contractor for developer F & F Realty’s Mid-City Plaza, LLC and architects Maemar Associates, McHugh gave the property a multimillion facelift in only eight months. After updating the 16-story building’s structural integrity and installing new heating and cooling systems, McHugh knocked out walls to create 42 suites, including 20 corner suites. Each room received new doors, trim, wall coverings, carpet, plumbing fixtures, and furniture, all in a palette of greens and dark woods, along with sophisticated halogen lighting systems. Corner desks and flat-screen, high-definition televisions also were installed in each room.
McHugh gutted and remodeled all public and back-of-house areas, including a lobby that now features French limestone floors and granite counters. More than 8,000 square feet of meeting space, along with hotel offices, kitchens and maintenance areas were rehabbed as well. The team also built a small addition and reconfigured the parking lots. Outside, McHugh covered the exterior with composite panel cladding to drastically alter its personality.
After reconfiguring the floors to create the corner suites, McHugh created several prototype rooms and then began working from the top down, turning over two floors per week, said Sean Doheny, McHugh project manager. A good relationship with the owners kept the project on schedule despite the inevitable surprises that get unearthed during renovations, he said.
The Crowne Plaza Metro is the latest success in a string of Chicago hotel property renovations for McHugh. Other recent renovations include the transformation of the Executive House on Wacker Drive into Hotel 71, and the metamorphosis of the Bismarck and Oxford House hotels into the Hotel Allegro and Hotel Monaco for Kimpton Hotels. In the last 10 years, McHugh has overseen the new construction or renovation of more than 4,000 hotel rooms.