• Olympia Companies and Smart Hotels to Open Sophy in Chicago

     
    POSTED August 20, 2017
     

The Olympia Companies and SMART Hotels are introducing a luxury boutique hotel, SOPHY, to the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. Specifically located on the corner of 53rd Street and Dorchester Avenue, SOPHY will be managed by The Olympia Companies. SOPHY will be a four-diamond luxury property meeting LEED Silver standards, as well as becoming a preferred hotel to the University of Chicago.

GREC Architects, Stonehill and Taylor Architects of New York, and William A. Randolph, Inc will work together to build the project, with Stonehill and Taylor responsible for interior design, GREC responsible for architecture, and Randolph Inc. Will constructing the property.

SOPHY will have 98 rooms, a restaurant with al fresco dining, a fitness center, and a bar. The luxury boutique hotel's name derives from the Greek word "sophia", which means wisdom and dedication to excellence through the pursuit of knowledge. "Sophia" corresponds with the legacy of intellectual, artistic, and cultural innovation that the University of Chicago and Hyde Park is known for. This will be reflected in the interior design of the hotel, specifically inspired by novelist Saul Bellow, University of Chicago Scientist Enrico Fermi, and singer Mahalia Jackson. Other elements of the interior design include design elements inspired by the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, and contemporary Chicago artists. Barn doors on the private dining space use circular elements to invoke the world's first Ferris wheel.

SOPHY is expected to open in summer 2018, and will complement the Hyatt Place Chicago-South/University Medical Center. It will be close to the University of Chicago campus, as well as the University of Chicago Medical Center and the future Barack Obama Presidential Library.

“Working closely with 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston and the University of Chicago, we’re pleased to have the opportunity to build and operate our second hotel in Hyde Park,” says Mike Zimmerman, vice president, development, for The Olympia Companies. “The hotel is firmly rooted in Hyde Park’s history dating back to the turn of the century and going forward will play a vital role in one of Chicago’s legendary neighborhoods. SOPHY aligns with SMART’s and Olympia’s expertise in developing and managing independent, award-winning boutique properties that evoke a strong sense of place and become an integral part of the community.”

Remote working has become mainstream with the continued presence of COVID-19. While many people have welcomed the new normal of working from home, others miss the separation of spaces, as many corporate offices have remained closed since March. Without the daily obligation to go into the office, professionals have the ability to travel more freely. Hotels across the country are creating “work from hotel” deals–a play on “work from home”–so people can explore new places while still fitting in their 9 to 5.  

 

After almost 20 years of vacancy, the Cook County Hospital in Chicago will be put to use once again. A $150 million adaptive reuse project restored the historic, 106-year-old hospital, which has become a combined Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotel, as well as medical offices, a museum, a food hall and more. While the opening is multi-phased, the hotels are scheduled to open in late July.  

 

Jumpstarting tourism in cities across the country will be more complicated than simply opening doors again – especially in cities with large populations like Chicago. However, working together proves more effective, and in Chicago, more than 250 businesses are banding together to join Choose Chicago’s new initiative, Tourism & Hospitality Forward. It bolsters a safe reopening that encourages tourism as well as meetings and events in