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Navy Pier Inc.

(Above) Rendering by Chicago architect Jackie Koo’s firm, Koo LLC, of a rooftop bar proposed for the east end of Navy Pier, shown to about 100 people Tuesday evening at Loews Chicago Hotel. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

Navy Pier plans now include hotel and ‘lake overlook’

27-Jul-16 – Laying claim to the title of “most popular attraction in the Midwest,” senior staff of Navy Pier, Inc., showed off on Tuesday the latest renovation plans, designed to accommodate even more than the 8-9 million visitors the pier has hosted every year since 2000.

The plans include a hotel with restaurant and rooftop bar, improved landscaping in the park at the west end, transient boat slips on the north side, and a walkway that will take visitors up and over the lake at the east end.

It is a continuation of Centennial Vision, a plan with roots in a November 2010 report by Urban Land Institute based on interviews with hundreds of stakeholders in Navy Pier and surrounding communities. Since June 2011, the report has been the framework for all recent redevelopment at the now 100-year-old Navy Pier.

“In the last almost two years now, Navy Pier has been going through a very thorough redesign of the facility,” said 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly, who hosted the community meeting with Streeterville Organization of Active Residents. “It’s the state’s number one tourist attraction today and I suspect with these improvements it will only become even more popular.”

The latest design organizes Navy Pier into four parts – the Pierscape, outdoor public space that runs the length of the south side, Family & Leisure at the far west end, which includes the new Centennial Wheel, Chicago Culture, including Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which is expanding, and Events & Entertainment on the east side.

Seven-floor hotel will include restaurant and rooftop bar

Navy Pier Inc.

(Above) South-facing hotel proposed for east end of Navy Pier.

New illustrations of the hotel show more clearly how it will fit on the east end of Navy Pier next to Festival Hall, the pier’s main exhibition space. Five new floors will be built on top of two existing floors. Further down the pier will be a rooftop bar on top of existing space.

Announced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on May 1, the $90 million 200-room as-yet-unnamed hotel will target people attending events at Navy Pier, in Chicago on business, “or just looking to spend extended leisure time at one of the Midwest’s most popular locations.”

The preliminary design of the hotel is by Jackie Koo, the architect who designed theWit hotel in the Loop. First Hospitality Group will develop and operate the hotel.

Steve Haemmerle, executive vice president of design and construction for Navy Pier Inc. says the hotel has “always been part of our vision” and its restaurant and bar is not unprecedented.

Steve Haemmerle “We’ve looked at images…of the space, frankly, being used for exactly the same thing in the 1920s,” said Haemmerle (left), “and so it’s sort of exciting to recreate what we think will be an absolutely spectacular addition to Navy Pier.”

(Below) Site plan showing the hotel (1) fitting, along with a restaurant, next to Festival Hall (6).

Navy Pier Inc.

Navy Pier Inc.

(Above) A new “lake overlook” will feature a gently sloping walkway that curves around from the south side of Navy Pier to the north side. (Below) A shallow pool will reflect sky, buildings, and people playing in the pool. A separate terrace will allow closer access to Lake Michigan.

Navy Pier Inc.

Navy Pier Inc.

(Above) What Polk Bros Park will look like when construction, which has started, has finished. The park is at the west end of Navy Pier on land that extends south.

(Below) Enhancements planned for indoors at Navy Pier. Says Navy Pier VP Steve Haemmerle, “To state the obvious, the current conditions are fairly dated. It borrows its aesthetic from festival marketplaces from the 80s and 90s.”

Navy Pier Inc.

Alderman Reilly says a traffic study underway is based on an expectation that the number of people visiting Navy Pier each year will increase to 11 million people.

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