Sentral Michigan Avenue
From the northeast in April 2019
General information
Location808 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Coordinates41°52′17″N 87°37′29″W / 41.8715°N 87.6247°W / 41.8715; -87.6247Coordinates: 41°52′17″N 87°37′29″W / 41.8715°N 87.6247°W / 41.8715; -87.6247
CompletedDecember 2018
OpenedMarch 1, 2019; 2 years ago (March 1, 2019)
ManagementOxford Capital
Roof620 feet (189.0 m)
Technical details
Floor count56
Design and construction
ArchitectHartshorne Plunkard Architecture
Main contractorPower Construction Company
Other information
Number of units479

Sentral Michigan Avenue is a 479-unit apartment building on South Michigan Avenue in the Loop community area, Chicago, Illinois. It is connected to Le Méridien Essex Chicago at 800 South Michigan Avenue.

The development was marketed and opened as Essex on the Park, but rebranded as Sentral (stylized as Sen+ral) Michigan Avenue in July 2021.


In November 2014, Oxford Capital Group LLC acquired the 254-room Essex Inn at 800 South Michigan, along the Historic Michigan Boulevard District across from Grant Park, from the Gecht family who built the hotel in 1961.[1] Oxford acquired the property, which sits atop a ground lease that runs until 2057, for $25.5 million.[2] By September 2015, Oxford submitted plans to replace the parking garage and swimming pool next to the Essex Inn with a 48-story apartment tower hosting 388 units.[3] The plan was modified during 2016, removing proposed open air bars between the lower and upper levels.[4] On January 3, 2017, Oxford Capital Group received a $170 million construction loan.[5] On January 19, 2017, Oxford broke ground on the new plan, which at the time proposed a 57-story 476-apartments and 290-hotel room development next to the Essex Inn.[4] Preleasing began on December 28, 2018 for the new building, which was considered completed at the time.[6] On March 1, 2019,[7] the 56-story apartment tower opened and the 14-story/274-room Hotel Essex, which was newly renovated from the shell of the Essex Inn, opened on April 1, 2019.[8]

Prior to the redevelopment of the property, the Essex Inn earned preliminary landmark status from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks ensuring that the Essex Inn sign will be preserved on the rooftop.[9] At the time, the Essex Inn was planned to be added to the National Register of Historic Places.[10] The final Chicago Landmark recommendation was adopted by the Commission on December 1, 2016.[11]

In April 2021, Oxford Capital Group announced that the Hotel Essex would be joining Marriott's Le Méridien brand, with the hotel rebranding as Le Méridien Essex Chicago.[12]


The entrance shows an 808 South Michigan address, despite various accounts in the press of the actual address.
The entrance shows an 808 South Michigan address, despite various accounts in the press of the actual address.

Oxford Capital and London-based Quadrum Global developed the project in partnership based on designs by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture.[13] The new 479-unit apartment tower is described with various addresses: 812 South Michigan (Chicago Tribune,[14][15]), 808 South Michigan (Crain's Chicago Business,[7] Curbed Chicago[16] Chicago Sun-Times[17]) and 800 South Michigan ([18]). The tower's 177-space parking garage is located behind the Michigan avenue facing amenities.[7] Sonder manages 92 of the apartment units in the building for short-term rentals.[17] The base of the new building is respectful of the skyline of the pre-existing landmark district, while the tall tower extension rises from an intermediating 4-story winter garden atop the base. The sign atop the original Inn remains as a historical artifact of its times and the buildings are linked by two restaurants.[19] The new building has a host of modern amenities and its residents also have access to the amenities of the newly renovated hotel.[16] Power Construction Company served as the general contractor; Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture was the architect and it was developed by Oxford Capital.[20]

See also


  1. ^ Gallun, Alby (November 4, 2014). "Chicago developer buys Essex Inn". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  2. ^ Gallun, Alby (November 24, 2014). "Essex Inn sells for $25.5 million". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  3. ^ Gallun, Alby (September 25, 2015). "But wait, there's more! Another tower for South Michigan Avenue". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Matthews, David (March 1, 2017). "57-Story Michigan Avenue Tower Breaks Ground Next To Essex Inn". DNA info. Archived from the original on July 11, 2019. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  5. ^ Sudo, Chuck (January 4, 2017). "Oxford Capital Issued Chicago's Latest Nine-Figure Construction Loan". Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  6. ^ Nitkin, Alex (December 28, 2018). "Here are the 10 biggest developments completed in Chicago this year". The Real Deal. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Rodkin, Dennis (March 1, 2019). "When a hip hotel developer does apartments". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  8. ^ Rackl, Lori (April 1, 2019). "First look: Hotel Essex opens Monday, bringing 'luxury lifestyle' lodging to South Loop". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  9. ^ "Essex Inn Earns Preliminary Landmark Status". Preservation Chicago. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  10. ^ "Essex Inn to be Landmarked Prior to Comprehensive Renovation". Preservation Chicago. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  11. ^ "Landmark Designation Report" (PDF). Chicago. December 1, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  12. ^ "Oxford Capital Group And Quadrum Global Announce The Rebranding Of Iconic Michigan Avenue Landmark Into Le Meridien Essex Chicago". PR Newswire. April 6, 2021. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  13. ^ Rackl, Lori (February 7, 2019). "Opening date, new details divulged about Hotel Essex in the South Loop". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  14. ^ Kamin, Blair (March 21, 2019). "Michigan Avenue has a new tower, but it doesn't live up to the street's high standards". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  15. ^ "Essex on the Park". Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  16. ^ a b Kozlarz, Jay (January 3, 2019). "New looks inside Michigan Avenue's Essex on the Park apartment tower, opening this spring". Curbed. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  17. ^ a b Roeder, Dennis (July 11, 2019). "Lodging operator Sonder expands Chicago product line". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  18. ^ "Essex on the Park". Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  19. ^ Messner, Matthew (February 24, 2017). "56-story tower coming to Chicago's Michigan Avenue, across from Grant Park". The Architect's Newspaper. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  20. ^ Buckshon, Mark (July 5, 2017). "Power Construction builds $160 million Essex on the Park Michigan Ave. skyscraper". Chicago Construction News. Retrieved July 15, 2019.