Lap of luxury

The Elysian Hotel and Private Residences

Developer launches tony new hotel brand with Elysian hotel and condos

Take one look at drawings for The Elysian Hotel and Private Residences, a 60-story ultra-luxury hotel and condominium development breaking ground this summer, and it’s easy to guess who the architect is. Take a look at the address, 11 E. Walton St., in the heart of the Gold Coast, and you can be almost certain.

Parisian-born architect Lucien Lagrange, the vision behind some of Chicago’s toniest towers, has blended Chicago and French architectural traditions in his signature style to design The Elysian.
The tone and look and style of The Elysian are important not only for the success of the development, according to David C. Pisor, president and CEO of developer Elysian Worldwide Chicago, but also for launch of a new hotel brand on par with some of the best in the world.

“We are well on our way to creating a one-of-a-kind world-class hotel reminiscent of the finest hotels in Europe,” Pisor says.

The developer is marketing 188 hotel condos and 51 private residences in a building that will include upscale restaurants, boutiques, a spa and health club, an indoor pool and private function rooms.

The Elysian Hotel and Private Residences

The Elysian’s level of service, along with the tower’s beaux-arts façade – think spires, dramatic profiles, mansard roofs, European entrance courtyard – is meant to recall a bygone era.

“We looked back to the buildings of the 1920s that were indicative of the elegant lifestyle of those times,” Lagrange says. “And we added a little Parisian flavor, with a limestone façade that is rich in detail. At the same time, we respond to the entire city by punctuating the skyline with a striking tower that has sweeping views, with lines of vision similar to those at the famous Playboy [Palmolive] Building.”

The tone will be established the minute you set foot in the lobby, with its marble floors and walls and wood finishes, according to Lagrange.

“The lobby really has a residential feel because you have, at most, 188 hotel guests,” says Lagrange. “And because there are not a lot of rooms, the tall tower is sleek and thin. Some say even pencil thin. And this adds to the residential feel.”

In addition to traditional residential condominiums, the Elysian has hotel condominiums, which owners place in the pool of hotel suites, to be rented to guests when the owners are not in residence, generating income. The suites are appointed with high ceilings, rich woods and fireplaces. They also have “urban kitchens,” with Sub-Zero freezer and refrigerator drawers, a two-burner cook top, a microwave oven and a sink.

Almost half of the guest suites are corner units and each has 1.5 baths. The average size is about 900 square feet. The guest suites range from studios to one-bedrooms and are priced from the $480s to the $930s.

At press time, around 65 percent of the guest suites were under contract, according to Mary Beth Malone, a principal in the development company. Marketing began in the summer of 2003.
“We have been very successful with the guest suites,” Malone says. “They have a great appeal to those who are somehow connected to the city – people in their 30s and 40s who were born or raised here and want a getaway spot, or who look at it as an investment.”

The private residences are traditional condos located above the guest suites, on the uppermost levels, and they are limited to a maximum of two per floor. They range from 3,000 to 11,000 square feet, and full floors and penthouses are available. Each unit offers spectacular lake and skyline views in three directions, high ceilings and two private terraces.

These homes have custom moldings, custom kitchen cabinets, enclosed water closets, Kohler bathroom fixtures, soaking tubs, separate showers and stone countertops.

The residences are column-free, says architect Mike Maurer, one of Lagrange’s associates. “So there is a lot of flexibility in the utilization of the space. Most of the residences are done in a traditional style, but buyers are free to custom-design the space.”

The residences are priced from $2.5 million to $6.7 million, and at press time, more than half were under contract, according to Malone, who says they have attracted empty nesters who live elsewhere in the city or in the suburbs. “They are used to large homes, but they want the vast array of amenities afforded by the hotel,” Malone says.

Construction of the Elysian is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2006, with completion planned for the end of 2008.

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