OP-EDS

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October 24, 2006

Hotel for Hyde Park

Think back to your junior or senior year of high school. You’ve just arrived in Chicago to visit your dream university. But you had to stay at an expensive hotel downtown, and you unassumingly hopped on the Green Line when trying to get down to Hyde Park so that, upon your arrival, you are greeted not by the charm of the neighborhood, but by its grimy outskirts.

This all-to-frequent scenario is entirely avoidable; all the University needs is a hotel in the area. The grimy Ramada more than two miles northwest of campus and the tiny and unadvertised Quadrangle Club just don’t cut it. In a pinch you can stay at I-House or the Shoreland, but only if your family is willing to simulate dorm life.

Currently, the number of rooms available is low and the demand is sky high, and is likely to only grow. Turning the Doctors Hospital into a moderately priced hotel is the solution the University has long needed. The Doctors Hospital, which is close to the nicest parts of campus and Hyde Park, is a fantastic site. Also, it is conveniently located for those taking the Metra or the #6 bus from the airport.

With this hotel, student groups who normally have to pay cab fares to transport guest speakers and professors to and from campus would save money by lodging their guests in a location nearer and more welcoming to campus. This would make life easier for the speakers and encourage them to revisit the University in the future.

But the benefits extend past self-serving ones for the University. Money now being spent downtown at fancy restaurants could be transported to Hyde Park. Building a hotel in Hyde Park would also benefit the neighborhood economically, bringing increased income to local businesses. It might also give incentive to the locally monopolistic and smug Ramada to improve its conditions.

In the long run, with the possibility of the Olympics coming to town, it’s not surprising that the demand for hotels in the area is high on everyone’s list.

This has been a must-do for quite some time now. With the purchase of the Doctor’s Hospital, it is finally a possibility.