Union Park Hotel approved for landmark status

June 9, 2010

Near West Side structure reflects important period of neighborhood growth

Peter Strazzabosco    312.744.9267

As a unique yet representative example of the apartment-hotels that were widely erected in Chicago after World War I, the Union Park Hotel was approved as an official landmark today by the City Council.

Completed in 1930 at 1519-21 W. Warren Blvd., the building represents an era when residential hotels and terra cotta ornament played important roles in the development of many neighborhoods, according to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, which recommended the building for landmark status earlier this year.

"The Union Park Hotel has been a prominent visual landmark on the Near West Side for decades. It's fitting to preserve its legacy and to leverage incentives for its restoration through its designation as an official landmark," said Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Designed by Chicago architect Benjamin Albert Comm, the 175-room hotel was named for its location across the street from Union Park, one of the city's oldest public parks. It's modernist exterior has a variety of Art Deco themes represented in multi-colored terra cotta ornament that was likely produced by one of the city's building supply manufacturers.

The Union Park thrived after the war, an era when apartment-hotels were popular with single professionals, childless couples and others for their affordability and amenities. After its name was changed to the Viceroy in 1963, the structure operated as a single-room-occupancy hotel before closing in the early 21st century. It was recently acquired by the Chicago Department of Community Development and its rehabilitation as affordable apartments is anticipated to start later this year.

As an official city landmark, the building will be protected from significant alternation or demolition and be eligible for a variety of tax and financial incentives.

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