CHICAGO-The Ira & Nicki Harris Family Hostel, at 500 beds one of the world’s largest hostels, has opened for business at 24 E. Congress Parkway in Chicago’s South Loop. It is expected to draw 73,000 overnight stays a year, 55,000 of which will be travelers from other countries.

A major fundraising campaign for the $16-million project, lead by former Illinois Lt. Gov. Neil Hartigan, is now pushing to raise the final $1 million for the not-for-profit venture. “[The hostel] is an important step forward in opening Chicago to young leaders from around the world,” says Hartigan. Public sector support for the hostel has totaled nearly $13 million, including direct state and TIF funding from the city. Additional funds have come from corporate sponsors such as Marshall Fields, PepsiCo and McDonald’s.

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