Repurposing and restoring Chicago’s forgotten treasures

In 1899, in the wake of the Chicago fire, an eleven-story masonry loft building in the Loop, known as the Plymouth, was completed. For decades it housed printing concerns, commercial artists and small businesses. It became one of the largest and most successful distance learning institutions in the country, before sitting empty for years. Today, it’s the site of Sonder’s first full-building hotel offering, helping to define a new category of flexible accommodations.

In cities throughout the world, Sonder is helping stabilize adaptive reuse projects that meet the changing needs of today’s dynamic cities.

In New York, Sonder has partnered with developers to adapt the former headquarters of the New York Stock Exchange into flexible accommodations. In New Orleans, Sonder has partnered with developers to renovate blighted properties along an entire boulevard that sat vacant long since Hurricane Katrina. In Chicago, Sonder is helping developers renovate historic properties that will serve the city for years to come.

The Plymouth building is an example of early steel-frame construction?—?the type of skyscraper pioneered in Chicago during the last half of the nineteenth century. Its neo-gothic facade wasn’t added until 1945, when the building was first adapted to house La Salle University’s Extension, which offered educational opportunities to hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged students. In creating a full-building Sonder offering from scratch, our team of interior designers sought to pay homage to the building’s storied architecture and youthful spirit.

After World War II, the university enrolled thousands of veterans who, with help from the G.I. Bill, were able to continue their educations. This is expressed in dozens of room designs found throughout each of the Plymouth’s 30 custom spaces.

Sonders at the Plymouth come in a variety of formats, one through four bedrooms, complete with kitchens, living spaces and washer/dryer units. The building features a gym, lobby and lounge area, complete with a private library and ping pong table. Guests can get their day started in the downstairs gym and end it on the private rooftop overlooking the city. If ever in need of assistance, guests can speak with a lobby representative or use Sonder’s signature 24/7 text-based concierge, which puts service at the guest’s fingertips. Spaces are available to book at

Flexibility to Meet Changing Demands

Sonder is excited to announce two upcoming Chicago locations that will help cement the city’s place as a leader in hospitality. The Waterman and Jeweler’s buildings will be revitalized and repurposed by Sonder in 2019 to offer travelers an even more authentic stay.

Sonder’s model of flexible accommodations helps cities welcome new visitors while restoring their forgotten treasures. We’re thrilled to expand our presence in Chicago and to call it our home.

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