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by MIchael C. Lowe | March 01, 2011
Wired Up
Soldier Field, home to the Chicago Bears, is now outfitted with wireless Internet, thanks to a deal with Boingo Wireless. Seating areas, premium suites, concessions and hospitality areas are equipped.
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Local Update
Chicago's first JW Marriott Hotel opened last fall in a landmark Daniel Burnham-designed building. The 610-room property underwent a $396 million restoration and includes 44,000 square feet of meeting space, wireless Internet, AT&T and Cisco Telepresence facilities, and a 20,000-square-foot spa.

The 261-room Hotel Palomar opened last March and offers a heated indoor pool, a 24-hour fitness center and 5,800 square feet of meeting space. The property's Sable Kitchen & Bar features gastro-lounge fare, including house-made beef jerky and braised pork belly with chipotle barbecue sauce.

The 330-room Langham Chicago Hotel is expected to open in 2013 with views of the Chicago River, 20,000 square feet of meeting space and a 9,000-square-foot Chuan Spa.

Chicago's 2.7 million-square-foot McCormick Place convention center implemented its second phase of reforms last October. The moves are designed to cut costs and increase flexibility for conventions and trade shows. Initiatives include free wireless Internet, a reduced parking rate and the expansion of the Hyatt McCormick Place hotel.

The 346-room Hotel 71 is undergoing a $15 million renovation, to be completed this spring. The enhancements will include a revamped lobby and business center, newly designed guest rooms and approximately 2,500 square feet of additional meeting space, bringing the property's grand total to 6,500 square feet.

The 162-room Hotel Blake is now the Wyndham Blake Chicago. The property offers free wireless Internet, in-room spa services and a 24-hour business center. The hotel also features 4,000 square feet of flexible function space and two din­ing options.

Last October, the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza completed a $20 million redesign and renovation of two of its ballrooms. The 521-room hotel includes 25,000 square feet of meeting space and offers free wireless Internet.