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CHICAGO-Plans to convert the historic Blackstone Hotel into condominiums have hit a procedural construction delay. Plan commissioners put off a decision on a proposal by Maharishi Royal Residences LLC for a month after learning the Landmarks Commission had quickly rescinded a favorable recommendation on the conversion.

Plan commission chairman Peter Bynoe says the landmarks commission rescinded its vote after realizing the project had not gone to a required public hearing. It also needs to go to the city council’s zoning committee before it comes back to the plan commission, Bynoe says. In addition, he wants the department of planning and development to review the plans.

Alderman Burt Natarus, whose 42nd Ward includes the site of the historic hotel overlooking Grant Park at 636 S. Michigan Ave., questions the delay, as well as the project’s chances to move forward.

“This has been going back and forth for many, many months now,” Natarus says. “They and the other people have to get on the ball here and start moving.

Maharishi Royal Residences LLC’s latest plans call for 73 condominiums, retail uses as well as off-street parking.

Built in 1910, the hotel’s guestbook included several US presidents, including Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. “Major decisions have been made in that hotel,” Lagrange said. The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, whose organization owns the hotel, had to make one himself concerning the Blackstone. After buying it in 1995 with intentions to renovate it as a hotel, the Maharishi Global Development Fund reportedly received multiple offers starting at $20 million before deciding to convert it to condos. The hotel closed in November, when room rates were about $105 a night.

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