Project Profiles: Hospitality and Entertainment

Hampton Inn Chicago Downtown

Retrofit Team

Mechanical Contractor: State Mechanical Services, Aurora, Ill.
Manufacturer’s Representative: Midwest Applied Solutions, Hillside, Ill.


It was imperative the renovated Chicago Motor Club building maintain its original appearance as a tribute to car culture while it was transformed into a Hampton Inn. State Mechanical Services was hand-selected to provide a heating and air-conditioning system that would allow the Chicago Motor Club to keep its architectural integrity while serving its new purpose in a practical manner. It was also essential any HVAC equipment installed in the building address installation challenges of limited interior and rooftop space (35 by 35 feet) and offer conditioning options that could efficiently respond to cold Chicago winters and warm summers. The new HVAC system, which would be operating on a 24/7 basis, also was required to maintain low sound levels so it wouldn’t disrupt the hotel’s guests and individual room temperatures could be centrally monitored to help control and identify any guest-comfort issues.

The Multi V IV Heat Recovery system is installed on the roof for minimal visibility.

The Multi V IV Heat Recovery system is installed on the roof for minimal visibility.

Given the building’s historic status, Midwest Applied Solutions installed the LG Multi V IV Heat Recovery system with the Art Cool Mirror indoor units and the AC Smart IV central controller, which provide utility, aesthetics and controls, respectively. The Multi V IV Heat Recovery system, which can be installed on the roof for minimal visibility, requires limited ductwork and enabled State Mechanical Services to execute a minimally invasive installation, which kept installation costs low.

Multi V IV compressors feature LG Vapor Injection Technology, which allows for maximum heating performance in cold climates and in low ambient conditions without the need for an additional low-ambient kit. An attractive element to the owner was the Multi V IV’s ability to keep the compressors running down to -13 F, meaning heating will not be compromised in Chicago’s extreme cold temperatures.

VRF technology offers custom temperature control in specific rooms, allowing each hotel guest to heat or cool based on his or her personal comfort needs. The building also can take advantage of recovered waste heat, moving that energy to the zones that need heat, so one guest can have heating and another cooling simultaneously. Additionally, for each individual guest room, ductless Art Cool Mirror indoor units met the owner’s requirement of maintaining low sound levels for minimal guest interruption, operating as low as 23 dB.

Finally, the AC Smart IV communicates with and monitors each of the indoor Art Cool Mirror units (up to 128 units). The AC Smart IV is outfitted with a 10.2-inch LCD touchscreen display with web access, making monitoring the hotel’s complete HVAC system simple and convenient.

HVAC Equipment Manufacturer: LG

The Retrofit

The Chicago Motor Club building is a historic city landmark that still embodies the Art deco design elements that have long been held as cultural treasures. The 17-story building, which first opened in 1928 and was added to the national Register of Historic Places in 1978, was crafted with a terra-cotta and limestone façade and features an iconic 29foot U.S. map mural in the grand lobby that highlights the building’s original tenants’ popular driving destinations. The triple-height, rectangular lobby features small mezzanines at the north and south ends, alcoves against each wall and is finely detailed throughout with Art deco-style ornamentation.

In 1986, the Chicago Motor Club relocated its headquarters to des Plaines, Ill., leaving the original building to suffer through a tangled web of owners. When Hampton by Hilton approached the building’s then-owners with hopes of transforming it into a hotel, the hotel chain was met with the daunting task of undergoing a full renovation of the historic space that had been unoccupied since 2004.

The Chicago Motor Club building reopened May 19, 2015, as the Leed Certified Hampton Inn Chicago downtown, incorporating all the functional amenities of a bustling, modern hotel property while still maintaining the original historic grandeur of the building.

Photo: LG

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