The Blackstone Hotel

on August 7, 2019
Historical Landmark

The Blackstone Hotel was designed by architect Benjamin Marshall, of Marshall and Fox, in 1909 and is often known as “The Hotel of Presidents.”

The Blackstone is a 22-floor rectangular structure and its structural steel frame is cased in tile and plaster fireproofing. The exterior south and east elevations is a one-story base of pink granite with high arched openings. The Blackstone Hotel has been dubbed “The Hotel of Presidents.”  It was once considered one of Chicago’s finest luxury hotels, and a dozen 20th-century U.S presidents have stayed at the hotel. 

Unfortunately, years of neglect following the closing of the hotel took a toll on the building’s appearance, with both interior and exterior façade crumbling. In 2005, it was announced that the hotel would undergo an extensive renovation in a deal between Marriott International/Renaissance Hotels and Sage Hospitality Group. The city of Chicago provided $13.0 million for street-front improvements, including the restoration and recasting of over 10,000 pieces of decorative terra cotta. The project also received federal tax credits due to the building’s status as a historical landmark. James McHugh Construction was the general contractor for the project and Auburn Corporation provided the window replacement. The design firm handling the renovation was Illinois-based Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. The restoration resulted in 332 rooms, 12 suites, and 13,230 square feet of meeting space. Only two guest rooms were preserved during the restoration: the famous ninth-floor “smoke-filled room” and the original tenth-floor presidential suite.

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