At Madison & Franklin
I was downtown part of the day yesterday for a conference at the Fairmont Hotel in the East Loop. Haven't been downtown in a while, not since it was a lot warmer. Yesterday, in fact, was drizzly and cold, just on the liquid side of freezing.
I didn't have a lot of time to look around, but I did notice that the Jewish Federation Building is being renovated into a La Quinta. The structure, at the corner of Madison and Franklin, dates from 1958 and was in sore need of some kind of aesthetic upgrade. It's still hard to tell exactly what it's going to look like as a hotel, since the work seems about half done. If the Jewish Federation, a charity, in fact owned that property, they're probably glad they inked the deal sometime ago. There aren't too many loans for acquisitions of such properties, or construction loans either, going through just now.
Historical note about the Jewish Federation Building. Immediately after September 11, 2001, concrete barriers went up around a few buildings in downtown Chicago: Federal Plaza (though those might have gone up after April 19, 1995), the Sears Tower, and the Jewish Federation Building.