ML - Michigan Avenue

2014 - Issue 1 - Winter

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 48 of 123

S uperlatives PEOPLE, CULTURE, TASTE, TREASURES VIEW FROM THE TOP The Hotel Master OXFORD CAPITAL GROUP CEO JOHN RUTLEDGE AMPS UP THE LUXURY FACTOR IN RIVER NORTH WITH THE SLEEK NEW GODFREY HOTEL. BY DAWN REISS PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARIA PONCE BERRE T here are foolish gambles, and there are calculated risks. For hotel real estate and private equity investor John Rutledge, the founder and CEO of Chicago's Oxford Capital Group, avoiding the former has made all the difference. "I've never been a cowboy," he says (though with his lanky frame, Rutledge does resemble one). "I'm not a reckless risk taker." Rutledge's philosophy has paid off: By taking calculated risks and pulling back during economic downturns, the businessman has made a name for himself as a keen hotel developer known for shrewd acquisitions. Recent major local successes include the Wyndham Chicago, the Hotel Felix, and the stunning new Langham in Mies van der Rohe's landmark former IBM building. The latest jewel in Rutledge's crown is The Godfrey, a 16-story luxury boutique hotel at 127 West Huron Street, a Cubist-style building whose original owners planned it as an extended-stay hotel but which Rutledge and his team have repurposed into a sleek, modern property with what they expect to be the largest hotel rooftop deck (15,000 square feet) in Chicago. "Many of these large-scale developments are like making a movie," he says. "They are multiyear journeys. There are all these milestones and sub-mountains to climb—they are the base camps of Everest, before you finally get to Everest." It's all part of Rutledge's mantra: To be a disciplined investor first, a developer second. That's how he was able to gain another recent acquisition: the iconic former London Guarantee Building at 360 North Michigan Avenue, which sits on the Chicago River and which he is redeveloping into a 450-room hotel. Like many The Langham's gracious lobby lounge. of his other redevelopments, Rutledge plans on juxtaposing the building's classical façade with a strikingly contemporary interior. "This is a piece of Chicago's architectural patrimony; it's a landmark," he attests. "That intrigues me—the unique design and the unique things we can do to it—but I also have a sense of responsibility. I want to make sure we do it right." continued on page 48 MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 046-048_MA_SP_VFT_Winter_14.indd 47 47 1/10/14 10:00 AM

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