Rejection by Ald. Tunney sends OUT Chicago back to the drawing board

Fri. September 20, 2013 9:28 AM by Anthony Morgano

the out chicago resort and hotel in boystown

photo credit // koo and associates

Ald. Tunney rejects current plans, suggests new locations

Chicago, IL - Last week Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) rejected the most recent design proposal for the OUT Chicago, Parkview Developers' proposed $30 million "straight-friendly" boutique hotel to be built above Minibar in Boystown.

The proposal has so far received the support of the Northalsted Business Association, Lakeview Chamber of Commerce and the Triangle Neighbors Association, but was rejected unanimously by the Belmont Harbor Neighbors in July. While the neighborhood groups don't make the final call, they are major influencers for Ald. Tunney.

"I think he wants relatively strong community support and one of the four associations is not in support. He's disappointed that we couldn't get the Belmont Harbor Neighbors on board. He wants to see more consensus," Parkview Developers' Ian Reisner told, adding, hopefully:

"The 2008 Master Plan calls for hotels in his district and he showed tremendous openness when we initially presented the idea and throughout the year."

Reisner first presented the proposed hotel at 3343 N. Halsted St. to the community and neighbors earlier this year and reactions have been mixed. In addition to a lot of initial support from the business community, Reisner also received his share of questions regarding the structure's height, the effect it would have on traffic and the cohesiveness of the design within the community. This has lead to a number of re-designs trying to balance community concerns with financial feasibility.

According to DNAInfo Chicago, Tunney's communications director said the alderman expressed concern that there were too many rooms in the plan and questioned whether the design, a modern building utilizing the Cantilever approach, fit into the neighborhood.

"The alderman would like them to look at other locations in the neighborhood and change the design to be more cohesive," Erin Duffy told DNAinfo.

Reisner is back in the Chicago office this weekend working with architect Jackie Koo of Koo and Associates on a fourth version of the hotel, which he plans to present to neighbors.

"It's back to the drawing board," Reisner said. "We're looking at ways to re-slice and dice it to address his immediate concerns about the Cantilever approach to design as well as the material selection... to be more community oriented."

The new designs will also address the height issue, which has been a constant change in the re-designs: the most recent shows eight floors with the top set back from the street, while the original proposal had 12.

In response to Tunney's suggestion of relocating, Reisner points out that he's rejected this several times in the past, having already contacted the viable spaces on Halsted and finding that the space above Minibar is the only location that fits his needs.

A boutique hotel, he said in an email statement to, usually needs a strong bar business to work, but Boystown doesn't need any more bars. By strategically locating above Minibar and next to Sidetrack, Reisner said he won't need to compete in the already competitive and saturated market.

"Lakeview needs more hotel rooms," Reisner commented. "Our concept is perfectly suited for this neighborhood. We will create a entertainment destination resort that will be an anchor for the neighborhood, something sorely needed."

Reisner and Koo are meeting with some key decision makers to discuss the next changes to the design this weekend, but have yet to make any concrete design changes.