We were happy to read yesterday that the nearly vacant building at 1816 N. Clark has now been purchased by the California hotel group Joie de Vivre. According to this article in Red Eye, Joie de Vivre plans to open a newly reburbished boutique hotel in February 2012.
The highly visible building overlooks the Lincoln Park Farm in the Zoo, is across from the Green City Market, and currently hosts the popular restaurant Perennial Virant. In the past, hotels on the site operated under the names of Hotel Gold Coast and Days Inn Gold Coast -- apparently in the neighborhood's darker years, when it wasn't yet a smart move to use the words "Lincoln Park" in your marketing strategy.
But in spite of the excellent location, it has been vacant for at least six years, when Days Inn (and Bar Louie On the Park, RIP) vacated. In the interim, at least one other investment group bought the property with intentions to renovate and open the "Park View Hotel", but they ran out of funds. The mishmash of leftover signage, unused glass windows on Clark Street, and underused building has been an eyesore for pedestrians and bicyclists ever since.
So we welcome the news that a new owner has big plans to invest. The Joie de Vivre group's website shows that it runs at least 30 boutique hotels in California, each with its own "personality". The Red Eye article says that the group will design the hotel to reflect Lincoln Park's style, which they describe as "eccentric-meets-collegial preppy". OK . . . we'll take that, and thank them for at least not using the names Trixie or Chad in the description.
They plan to take advantage of the views by opening a rooftop bar, always a huge draw in summer months. We also like that they will name it Hotel Lincoln, which was its original name, and lends a nice historical touch.
|The marquee with the original name Hotel Lincoln is still visible. (Photo: BikeWalkLincolnPark.com)
We'd like to suggest that Joie de Vivre take advantage of the hotel's walkable and bikeable location by providing guests resources for getting around through people-powered means. The site is right on the major north/south bike corridor of Wells/Lincoln, and it has safe and easy access to the Lakefront Trail. Perhaps Hotel Lincoln could provide biking maps, and make it easy for guest to rent bikes by arranging to install a row of rental bikes from the city's rapidly expanding bike share program, B-Cycle.
|B-Cycle bicycles available for hourly rentals or longer, at Lincoln Park's Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
Joie de Vivre, let us know if you want more tips, and welcome to the neighborhood.