Oxford and Quadrum Global Launch $75 Million Renovation to Transform Chicago’s Iconic Essex Inn Into Hotel Essex

USA, Chicago, Illinois. February 12, 2019

Oxford Hotels & Resorts, LLC, the Chicago-based hotel management and branding affiliate of Oxford Capital Group, LLC and its joint venture partner Quadrum Global announce the comprehensive redevelopment, repositioning, and rebranding of an iconic Michigan Avenue hotel into Hotel Essex. Formerly known as Essex Inn, the hotel's extensive $75 million renovation, set to be complete in time for an early April opening, transforms the property into a luxury lifestyle destination in Chicago that is ahead of its time, again.

“The Essex Inn has been a prominent fixture on Michigan Avenue since 1961, providing accommodations to travelers from around the world along the Chicago Cultural Mile,” says John W. Rutledge, founder, president, and CEO of Oxford Hotels & Resorts, LLC and its parent company, Oxford Capital Group, LLC. “We're excited to transform the building into the luxury lifestyle Hotel Essex, bringing Oxford's attention to detail and high-touch guest experience to the historic building.”

One of Chicago's landmark buildings, the original 14-story Essex Inn was designed by A. Epstein and Sons. The building's exterior architecture, including the steel and glass façade and the iconic rooftop “Essex Inn” sign is being restored and retained.

Oxford Capital Group and its joint venture partner Quadrum Global are working closely together to implement the strategic repositioning and renovation of the property.

“Hotel Essex is Quadrum Global's third joint project with Oxford, and the largest repositioning to date in the City of Chicago,” says Oleg Pavlov, founder and CEO of Quadrum Global. “The former Essex Inn has a noteworthy legacy, in addition to a remarkable location overlooking Michigan Avenue and Grant Park. We are delighted to be a part of the property's new life as Hotel Essex, a destination for Chicago residents and visitors to the city.”

Guests are welcomed into the hotel's ground floor lobby with furnishings and decor with 1960s-inspired style, utilizing patterns, color palettes, and materials that modernize the hotel's atmosphere.

The open lobby invites guests in from Michigan Avenue to a contemporary, comfortable space. A rich, book-matched marble wall serves as the backdrop to the front desk and lobby lounge spaces, all framed by a strong, geometric wood screen wall. 

Hotel's Essex's redevelopment includes the addition of 20 guestrooms, giving the property a total of 274 king and double rooms. The building's original steel and glass structure provides guestrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows framing views of Lake Michigan, Grant Park, Michigan Avenue, and urban scenes.

“Within this historic, mid-century shell, we are able to pursue a gut redevelopment and truly create a brand-new hotel with carefully curated interior design and the addition of attractive amenities, all while utilizing state-of-the-art building systems,” says Sarang Peruri, principal at Oxford Capital Group, LLC and Oxford Hotels & Resorts.

Hotel Essex is a part an Oxford-led, mixed-use lifestyle development which includes the adjacent 56-story luxury apartment project Essex on the Park. 

Hotel guests can also enjoy SX Sky Bar, a new bi-level lounge on the fifth and sixth floors in the adjacent Essex on the Park at 808 S. Michigan Ave. SX Sky Bar provides a luxe, two-story food, beverage, and nightlife destination for both hotel guests and Chicago residents.

The ground floor lobby's transformation includes the addition of onsite restaurant and bar Grant Park Bistro. Grant Park Bistro is a modern French grill from Chicago-based LM Restaurant Group.

The 40-seat dining room offers views into the restaurant's open kitchen, while the 26-seat bar area sits adjacent to a cafe. In the summer months, a 40-seat outdoor patio lines Michigan Avenue looking out to Grant Park.

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Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.