The London Guarantee Building or London Guaranty & Accident Building, built in 1923, is located on the prominent corner of North Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, where the Magnificent and Cultural Miles begin. The location is also the historical site of Fort Dearborn. The 23-story Beaux Arts tower, designed by noted Chicago architect Alfred S. Alschuler, exemplified the City Beautiful Movement. It is known as one of the four 1920s anchors of the Michigan Avenue Bridge, along with the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, and 333 North Michigan Avenue. It was designated as a Chicago Landmark on April 16, 1996.
From the 1950s through the 1970s, the famous London House steakhouse and jazz club was known as the preeminent location to see jazz in Chicago. The club hosted distinguished artists including Oscar Peterson, Ramsey Lewis, Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, Marian McPartland, Nancy Wilson, and Barbara Carroll. Several live albums were recorded at the London House, including After Hours at the London House by famed singer Sarah Vaughan. On the venue's closing night, a group of jazz luminaries gathered to say goodbye, and George Shearing wrote and performed "A Foggy Day in London House."
The studios of Chicago's popular WLS (AM) "Chicago's Talk Leader" radio were located on the fifth floor of the building from the 1960s through the 1980s. And for several decades, Paul Harvey, known for the radio series The Rest of the Story, performed his daily syndicated radio show from studios on the fourth floor.
Presently, the landmark building has been refurbished into a unique lavish hotel, the LondonHouse Chicago. The hotel's Chicago-based developer and manager, Oxford Capital Group, LLC, began work on the London Guarantee Building in 2013, followed up with construction of the new glass tower, designed by Chicago's Goettsch Partners, beginning in December 2014. The 22-story architecturally synchronized Modernist glass tower will host the hotel's main entrance and feature a gateway arrival lobby leading to the grand second floor check-in lobby and bar.
The design scheme of LondonHouse Chicago, led by Simeone Deary Design Group, will speak to the London Guarantee Building's roots with the use of historic detail, while adopting the progressive thinking of the 1920s to create modern and chic accents. The color palette will feature warm greys and crisp whites, punctuated by jewel tones and rich fumed eucalyptus woods. The guestroom design is inspired by the luxurious automobiles of that era - clean, sleek, and elegant. The hotel will be outfitted with modern furniture upholstered in lavish materials, paying homage to the opulence of the 1920s. The lines of the furniture will be contemporary, but embellished with classic touches, providing an overall feeling of serenity and elegance.