London Guarantee Building
|London Guarantee Building|
|London Guaranty & Accident Building|
|Location||85 E. Wacker Drive at North Michigan Avenue
|Architect||Alfred S. Alschuler|
|Designated||April 16, 1996|
The London Guarantee Building or London Guaranty & Accident Building is a historic 1923 commercial skyscraper whose primary occupant since 2016 is the LondonHouse Chicago Hotel Formerly known as the Stone Container Building, it is located near the Loop in Chicago, and is one of four 1920s skyscrapers that surround the Michigan Avenue Bridge (the others are the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower and 333 North Michigan Avenue) and is a contributing property to the Michigan–Wacker Historic District. It stands on part of the former site of Fort Dearborn and the building was designated a Chicago Landmark on April 16, 1996.
The London Guarantee & Accident Building was designed by Chicago architect Alfred S. Alschuler and completed in 1923 for the London Guarantee & Accident Company, an insurance firm that was then its principal occupant. The top of the building resembles the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, but it is supposedly modelled after the Stockholm Stadshus. It is located in the Michigan–Wacker Historic District. The building stands on the property formerly occupied by the Hoyt Building from 1872 until 1921. The LondonHouse name is an homage to the first owner of the 1923 Beaux Arts tower: the London Guaranty & Accident Co., an insurance company.
From the 1960s through the 1980s, the studios of Chicago's popular WLS (AM) radio were located on the fifth floor of the building. For several decades, Paul Harvey performed his daily syndicated radio show from studios on the fourth floor. The building was also famous from the 1950s through the early 1970s for The London House, a famous Chicago jazz nightclub and steakhouse that was located on the west side of the building's first floor; it had its own entrance on Wacker Drive. It was one of the foremost jazz clubs in the country, once home to such luminaries as Oscar Peterson, Ramsey Lewis, Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, Marian McPartland, Cannonball Adderley, Erroll Garner, Ahmad Jamal, Nancy Wilson, Barbara Carroll, Bobby Short and many others.
In 2001, the building was acquired by Crain Communications Inc. and was referred to as the Crain Communications Building. Crain Communications and other office tenants occupied the tower until Oxford Capital paid $53 million for the property. Crain sold the building during the summer of 2013 to a Chicago hotel developer, Oxford Capital Group, which remodeled the structure into a 452-room hotel, with the addition of a modern glass addition on an adjacent plot. Goettsch Partners-designed the new 22-story addition on a parcel immediately west of the structure. On April 15, 2016, Oxford Capital Group sold the 452-room hotel, but also agreed to a 25-year contract to lease back and manage the hotel. Oxford, however, retained ownership of first and second floor retail space.
After an extensive renovation project, the building reopened as the LondonHouse hotel on May 26, 2016.
The London Guarantee Building entrance commemorates Fort Dearborn at the top
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