Tony Radisson Blu to fill Aqua’s vacant hotel space

By Julie Wernau
Posted Jan. 14 at 5:41 p.m.

Carlson Hotels is planning a $125 million upscale Radisson hotel for the first 18 floors of the Aqua skyscraper downtown.

The hotel, slated to open this fall, would be the first Radisson Blu in the country and is part of the hotel group’s $1.5 billion plan to revitalize the Radisson brand in the United States. The costs are being split 50/50 as part of a joint partnership with Magellan Development Group, the developer of Aqua, the 82-story mixed-use skyscraper known for its swelling wave-like balconies.

Thorsten Kirschke, president of the Americas and chief operating officer for Carlson said the opportunity to develop a hotel at the Aqua building came to the company in late 2008 after a deal to turn 15 floors  into a Fairmont-brand hotel fell through.

Aqua was originally meant to contain condominiums and a hotel. But the economic crisis forced many of those condominium units to become rental units  and stalled the hotel  project.

“It’s through and through a flagship hotel,” Thorsten said of the development planned for Chicago. “We try really to not be in any way cookie cutter. There’s a space for a hotel in today’s world that is not a commodity but speaks through its elegance and individuality with contemporary design.”

Kirschke said the brand’s 200 Radisson Blu hotels are mostly in Europe and can be best described as “upper upscale.” Rooms, he said, are expected to average more than $200 per night. Pierre-Louis Giacotto, a former general manager at the Rosemont Hotel, has been chosen as Radisson Blu hotel’s general manager.

Carlson and Magellan staged a mock-ground breaking by slicing into a 4-foot-tall cake shaped like the Aqua building and presented the Greater Chicago Food Depository with a check for $25,000.

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  1. James Loewenberg Jan. 15 at 10:11 a.m.

    We appreciate your blog regarding the Radisson BLU. While the article is substantially correct, I would like to take the oppurtunity to correct one statement. AQUA was always intended to include 482 rental apartments, 262 condominiums and a hotel. We are glad that we have been able to complete this project with no change in the development mix.

  2. MPH Jan. 15 at 4:04 pm

    dear tony, bad idea.

  3. ron Jan. 15 at 6:08 pm

    Please people, do some research before posting information on these blogs, it’s really not not hard. I knew right away that statement about how Aqua was suppose to be all condos was incorrect.

    As for MPH, you don’t know anything so please just STFU.

  4. RRL Jan. 25 at 12:33 pm

    Dear MPH – The word “Tony” in the article’s title is an adjective meaning “stylish” or “classy.” It is not the first name of some Mr. Radisson.

    I think having an upscale hotel in the Aqua building is a fantastic idea. Currently the Radisson company has no presence in downtown Chicago, and this will be a great addition to the selection of lodging downtown.