‘This hotel will have a soul’: Designers to include Naperville history

Curator Bryan Ogg shows interior designers Chris McDonough and Erica Zitron Naper Settlements only original photo of Joe Naper. | Submitted
Erica Zitron and Chris McDonough of Gettys, designers of the new Hotel Indigo Naperville share a look at the original guest register from the historic Pre- Emption House hotel with Curator Bryan Ogg. | Submitted

A hotel to be built in Naperville may be new and historical at the same time.

Marquette Companies and designers from Gettys, an international hospitality design firm headquartered in Chicago, are teaming up with curators from Naper Settlement in researching the community history and neighborhood vernacular they will consider in designing the new Hotel Indigo Naperville on the Riverwalk.

The hotel will be the anchor of the new Water Street District in downtown Naperville.

“By nature, the Indigo brand seeks to be very reflective of the communities and neighborhoods where they operate. It’s one of the reasons we knew the brand would be right for Water Street,” says Nick Ryan, Marquette Managing partner.

He said Gettys was brought in because of their respect for the importance of local history.

“The team from Gettys has been really receptive to capturing the flavor of this vibrant community and the heritage of Naperville, the river, transport, trade, culture and personalities of the community,” Ryan said. “We’re looking forward to seeing that translated into unique interior design elements of the hotel.”

Designers have met with the curatorial staff, explored Naper Settlement, studied archival materials, the Les Schrader collection and artifacts of Naperville history in developing their vision for the experience of the Hotel Indigo Naperville.

Chief Curator Louise Howard said she is excited for the opportunity to help visitors and residents alike have a greater appreciation for Naperville’s history.

“We can think about all the things that happened in the Pre-Emption House hotel, and then when we imagine all the life that will take place in this new hotel, we’re seeing history in the making,” she said.

Curators Bryan Ogg and Jennifer Bridge are also assisting with the research.

“We are wide open to this opportunity,” Howard said. “We are happy to help when these designers are so open to taking it all in and really appreciating our rich heritage. It will be fun to see how some of this gets translated into a modern boutique hotel through their eyes.”

Chris McDonough, design director for Gettys says his firm believes in making sure that hotels have a local flavor.

“Gettys likes working on the best hotels in town, and we certainly see that opportunity here in Naperville,” he says. “Much like the Pre- Emption House, this hotel will be a gathering place for the community. The variety of public spaces, outdoor areas and unique rooms including those overlooking the river, will allow us to create a number of experiences for guests.

“The buildings themselves will give a nod to history, and there are so many opportunities to develop the connection between past, present and future,” he said. “We will be storytelling through a rich history that will influence a fairly modern interior. You won’t see any cookie-cutter design here. This hotel will have a soul.”

The Hotel Indigo Naperville on the Riverwalk will consist of approximately 160 rooms, including Riverfront King Suites and Honeymoon Suites. The second-floor lobby will feature a great room with fireplace, a bistro-style dining area and wine bar, as well as a health facility. A pedestrian bridge will give hotel guests access to the Loggia Building with additional Riverfront rooms and suites as well as banquet accommodations, three meeting rooms that can accommodate from 15 to 60 and a rooftop restaurant, overlooking the river and downtown Naperville.

Jeff Prosapio, project director for Marquette, sees the collaboration between Gettys, Naper Settlement and Marquette as a natural fit for what Marquette hopes to accomplish with the Water Street District and the Hotel Indigo Naperville.

“Part of the Gettys core culture is to create an experience of discovery in their designs. This collaboration will give the hotel its character, and a really fresh experience that will immediately immerse guests into the culture of our community.

“This approach really grounds the project in Naperville,” he said.

Construction on the hotel is expected to begi in mid-2014 with a projected summer 2015 opening.


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