WBEZ | congress hotel http://www.wbez.org/tags/congress-hotel Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Can a deal put the Congress hotel back in session again? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-12/can-deal-put-congress-hotel-back-session-again-104496 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P1010844.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 799px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The Congress Plaza Hotel, a faded South Michigan Avenue jewel best known for its nine-year hotel workers strike could again shine under a plan to convert portions of the historic property into residences and retail.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">New Jersey-based newsletter <a href="http://www.realert.com/headlines.php?hid=160099">Real Estate Alert reported </a>Wednesday that a partnership led by New York investor David Aim has agreed to pay $275 million for the 120-year-old hotel at 520 S. Michigan Ave. The newsletter said the partnership seeks to &quot;boost revenues at the aging hotel over the next year or two, then redevelop the 1 million-square-foot complex and convert portions into residential condominiums and retail space.&quot; Businessman Albert Nasser Shayo has owned the property since 1987.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The deal has the potential to bring good to the once-grand hotel. Built in 1893 as an annex to the Auditorium Hotel (now Roosevelt University) &mdash; the two buildings were once linked underground via a marbled-walled passageway called Peacock Alley &mdash; the Congress was once among the city&#39;s finer hotels. The 11-story edifice was designed by architect Clinton J. Warren, with matching 1902 and 1907 additions by Holabird &amp; Roche. The Congress has a well-written history of itself, particularly those heady early days, <a href="http://www.congressplazahotel.com/about-our-chicago-hotel/index.cfm">on its website.</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/72288378_aa673c8647_o.jpg" title="" /></div></div><p>The latter days have been less kind, however, as the 871-room hotel shows its age. In addition, local members of the hotel workers&#39; labor union Unite Here went on strike in June 2003 over the Congress&#39; plans for a seven percent wage cut. The group has walked the picket lines daily since then.</p><p>As part of the Historic Michigan Boulevard Landmark District, the hotel cannot be demolished or significantly altered without city approval.</p></p> Thu, 20 Dec 2012 09:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-12/can-deal-put-congress-hotel-back-session-again-104496