Well, we finally got our hands on the latest revision made by HOK, and it looks like it does indeed address a number of concerns local residents and businesses had.
In this first diagram we see how the western alley would be transformed from a regular alley into a place where hotel guests could be picked up and dropped off and a valet, area. This would keep most of the hotel traffic off of Grand, Clark, and Illinois Streets. Illuminated glass awnings, signage, and bollards would make the alley more inviting and help direct clueless tourists.
Deliveries get moved to a loading zone off of the eastern alley, adjacent to the proposed Fairfield Inn.
Trees and planters installed along the sidewalk designate pedestrian entrances to the buildings, but discourage cars from stopping along the street.
I don't know if we got to see this last time, but here is the green roof plan. It shows that around 10,555 square feet of roof would be "green" (9,500 square feet of plants and 1,055 square feet of hardscape) That's about 50% of the total roof space.
The Aloft hotel is now more glass and less brick. Compare the old and new designs:
The glass facade is really more in line with the direction the neighborhood is going than the old brick. Recent examples include 353 North Clark Street and 300 North LaSalle Drive, as well as venerable buildings like 321 North Clark Street.
For your further edification, here are the edifices' façades (changes noted in red):
This project is going by the address of 501 North Clark, but at this point retains the "Clark and Grand Hotels" name.
You can see our older posts on the project here:
- August 4, 2009: Three New Hotels Planned for River North
- October 27, 2009: Plan for Three New River North Hotels Revised