- Developer First Hotel Group announced plans this week to build a $100 million, 222-room hotel at Navy Pier, a Chicago waterfront tourist destination, according to the Chicago Tribune.
- The hotel will operate under the Curio Collection by Hilton brand and will include a 30,000-square-foot rooftop restaurant and bar with views of Lake Michigan. Officials said the 100-year-old pier, which was converted into a theme park in the 1990s, will not close during construction and that crews will do the bulk of their work during slower winter months.
- First Group officials said it will build the hotel with private money and that the project will not receive tax credits, abatements or other financial incentives from local government. Construction is scheduled to begin in January and wrap up in the summer of 2019.
According to a Colliers International report on theme park hotels, lodging built near an attraction has the potential to increase the length of visitor stays, expand repeat business and open up more opportunities in the convention and meeting space — especially if the theme park or destination is close to an urban core.
First Group is also underway with Hilton's first triple-brand hotel near Chicago's McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America. The hotel structure will connect via sky bridge to the convention center and will feature a Hilton Garden Inn, a Hampton Inn by Hilton and a Home2 Suites by Hilton. The only hotel actually connected to the convention center is a Hyatt Regency.
Convention centers also have an opportunity to thrive when they have hotels in close proximity. A nearby full-service hotel increases a meeting venue's chances at drawing in more events. That trend helped push the Oregon Convention Center to commit to building a 600-room Hyatt Regency across the street from the center. Oregon convention officials were likely swayed by a survey of national meeting planners that determined 79% were more likely to book conventions at the Oregon Convention Center if there was a full-service hotel within walking distance.
Similarly, after the Palm Beach County Convention Center added a 400-room Hilton next door, the facility saw a significant increase in event bookings, according to David Anderson, regional vice president of management company Spectra by Comcast Spectacor.