1,200-room hotel planned near McCormick Place - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

1,200-room hotel planned near McCormick Place

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The board that runs McCormick Place plans to borrow $400 million to build a huge new hotel right next to the convention center.

In addition to creating thousands of jobs, Mayor Emanuel told FOX 32's Political Editor Mike Flannery it will also stimulate growth on the Near South Side.

The mayor says the project is key to luring billions of dollars in new convention business to Chicago. He also wants to jump start the still-empty entertainment district some call "Motor Row."

"We're starting to beat Vegas and Orlando for this business," Emanuel says.

Chicago's salesman-in-chief told FOX 32 News this proposed 1,200-room hotel at Michigan and Cermak will help him bring 10 or 15 medium-sized new shows to town. With an all-weather sky bridge connecting it to the McCormick Place complex, it will keep visitors comfortable even in the dead of winter.

"And part of our goal is to also now figure out a strategy to keep activities coming here in what are considered December, January, February," Emanuel says. "It's considered slow [in winter], but by the time we're done, the hotels will be booked."

The same plan is in place for new restaurants and nightlife spots in a long-discussed--but still largely barren—entertainment district stretching from McCormick Place north to the old Chicago Blues recording studios.

The numbers are clear on the entertainment district, according to the mayor. It's a business he thinks he knows a bit about, since he used to spend time with his mom at the Daisy Patch, the music club she managed on the North Side. By 2016, when the new hotel is supposed to open, he hopes a new "South Side scene" will be taking shape.

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