Chicago Architecture Info

Virgin Hotel Chicago

Photographs

Facts

Formerly
  • The Old Dearborn Bank Building
  • The Lake-State Bank Building
Address 203 North Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60601
Neighborhood The Loop
Built 1927 - 1928
Cost $1,500,000.
Developer The Lake-State Bank
Architecture firm Rapp and Rapp
Architects
  • C.W. (Cornelius Ward) Rapp
  • George L. (Lesley) Rapp
Type
  • Hotel
  • Retail
  • Skyscraper
Floors 25
Length 140 feet
Width 48 feet

Notes

  • This location was formerly part of the South Water Street Produce Market.
  • When this building opened, it had 24 floors. When it was converted into a hotel in 2013, a floor was added to the top.
  • This was the world's first Virgin Hotel.
  • When this building was converted to a hotel, it had 250 guest rooms.
  • Virgin Hotels received an estimated $6,500,000 in reduced city property taxes as an incentive to renovate this building.
  • During the conversion of this building into a Virgin Hotel the process drew attention to itself because the scaffolding was covered in red. This is very unusual in Chicago, where scaffold sheeting is almost always blue, and sometimes green. The barricades and even the tape on the windows were also red.
  • In 2013, when this building was renovated into a hotel, it was given a 2,584-square-foot green roof.
  • This was the home of U.S. Robotics, one of the pioneering companies of the microcomputer age.
  • This is one of only two office buildings designed by Rapp and Rapp, and the only one in Chicago.
  • Look for medieval and mythological themes in terra-cotta panels on the facade, including griffins, squirrels, birds, bats, dragons, lions, eagles, horses, and human heads.
  • This building was built for The Lake-State Bank, which was founded by James L. Kraft; the same person who started the Kraft cheese company.
  • When this building opened in 1928, its flat roof was considered unusual.
  • The Lake Street side of this building has five architectural bays. The Wabash Avenue side has 14 bays.
  • The balcony-like projections near the top of the building are supported by brackets shaped like animal and human heads.

Timeline

1925 The Lake-State Bank bought the property to build this building.
June 28, 1926 C.W. Rapp, one of the architects of this building, died before it was completed. He is buried in Oakland Cemetery in downstate Carbondale.
1928 Construction finished.
1931 The Old Dearborn Bank went out of business. Old Dearborn Bank was the new name for The Lake-State Bank, for which this building was erected.
June 4, 2003 This building was named a City of Chicago landmark.
October, 2011 This building was bought by Virgin Hotels.
February, 2013 Construction started on an $89,700,000 renovation turning this from an office building into Virgin Hotel Chicago.
Autumn, 2013 The original planned opening of the Virgin Hotel.
December, 2014 The Virgin Hotel had a soft opening.
January 15, 2015 The Virgin Hotel opened to the public.

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