The iconic Northwest Tower, which anchors the Six Corners intersection of Milwaukee, North, and Damen in Wicker Park, is slated for development as a boutique hotel by the Chicago-based DRW Holdings LLC. A city landmarks committee approved conversion of the Northwest Tower from its current status as an office building on February 6.
The Northwest Tower, which is popularly called the Coyote Building, is a twelve-story art deco building that is a symbol of the Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods. Built in 1929, it was one of the first skyscrapers erected outside the Chicago Loop. In the 1980s, as Wicker Park became home to a vibrant artists’ community, the building was the home of the renowned Tower Coyote Gallery. An annual arts festival called Around the Coyote has been held there every summer for the past two decades.
The Northwest Tower is less than a block from the park that the neighborhood is named after. The park is ringed by Chicago-style three flat apartments and condominiums. It has basketball courts, a softball field, a dog park and play area. Every summer the park is host to music and arts festivals as well as an outdoor movie series. Beautiful single family homes for sale are available in the neighborhood, which has quiet, tree-lined streets and great schools, including Pritzker Elementary. Condos for sale can also be found, and new developments are stylishly integrated among older buildings.
The Six Corners intersection is a bustling commercial area that is home to dozens of trendy bars, restaurants, , bookstores, vintage clothing stores and high-end boutiques. The Northwest Tower overlooks the Damen Blue Line El stop and is less than twenty minutes from downtown Chicago by El train. Visitors can reach Chicago O’Hare International Airport on the same train line in about an hour. The Kennedy Expressway is about a mile due east of the intersection; at peak hours, over 2,500 cars pass through the Six Corners intersection.
DRW Holdings LLC is managing the project through Convexity, the company’s real estate and management arm. Convexity has projects that are a mix of hospitality, entertainment and retail properties. Convexity was founded in 2009 by David Nelson, a Vice President at DRW Holdings. DRW acquired the Northwest Tower in 2012. The company plans to replace all the window in the building at 1606-08 N. Milwaukee Avenue, as well as add a rooftop deck, green roof, and renovate storefronts.
“We will be taking one high rise building with antiquated systems and a former warehouse with no systems and packaging it as one building with a central plant that will serve all buildings,” said Nelson. 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack said that the city has “kept the hotel concept on the table for years. I am happy to see the developer working on it as a partner with the community. Alderman Fioretti and I are working together on this project although he was taking our lead to get this project moving as the wards transition.”
Convexity is currently refurbishing the exterior of the building, and expects to complete that work in March of 2014. The project’s completion date is projected to be sometime in 2015.