Just north of Chicago, in Skokie, IL, sits a rotting,
abandoned hotel that once welcomed such renowned guests as Michael
Jordan, Perry Como and infamous Teamster Allen Dorfman, and is now
facing a bankruptcy auction, or worse.
The hotel has gone by many names â€“ and undergone many
changes in ownership â€“ but itâ€™s known to locals as The Purple Hotel, and
since 2007 theyâ€™ve been trying to save what many consider an historical
landmark. If local supporters and investors
are unsuccessful in their efforts, however, the iconic hotel gets the
wrecking ball, courtesy of Delta Demolition Inc.
The Purple Hotel had its greatest heyday in the 1960s
and 70s, when it was a widely regarded Chicagoland hot spot. Sadly,
after more than 40 years of operation, and after being purchased by its
current owner in 2004, the hotel was left to
unravel and decay. In 2007, plagued by unanswered health violations and
lawsuits, it was finally forced to close.
For more than three years, the hotel sat in ruin.
In 2011, local outcry to have the eyesore (and health
threat) demolished was finally addressed, and Skokie officials declared
that if The Purple Hotel was not brought up to code by August of that
year, it would be demolished at the ownerâ€™s
expense. The matter was further complicated when, that same year,
Midwest Bank filed foreclosure against the property.
Fast-forward to December 2011. The Purple Hotel still
stands, though a demolition contract has just been awarded, and the
building is still not up to code. However, Weiss Properties and North
Capital Group, both based in Skokie, have joined
forces and purchased hotelâ€™s mortgage note, touting plans to rescue the
structure and turn it into a boutique hotel and retail/conference
"I really feel strongly how much tearing down a
building like this â€¦ economically, environmentally and historically, is
not the right move," said Jake Weiss, of Weiss Properties.
With that, it seemed the landmark was safe and
destined for new glory. But a recent Crainâ€™s report draws this into
question once again, explaining that a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge has
now approved plans to sell the hotel
property (as well the two neighboring parcels) at auction in May. The report did not say whether the sale would include the hotel itself.
Still, hope remains. Weiss Properties and North
Capital are not giving up and intend to present their development plans
during a Lincolnwood village board hearing, currently scheduled for
â€œThere are so many different obstacles in getting what
we'd like accomplished,â€ said Erez Baver, president of North Capital
Group. â€œThere's a lot of unknowns. My hope is that we'll get full
control of the site and redevelop it into another
landmark hotel for Lincolnwood.â€
Should Weiss Properties and North Capital win the day
come April 3, Baver has said they will invest up to $20 million in
restoring The Purple Hotel and in developing the neighboring parcels of
land â€“ a collective spread of eight-and-a-half
See: Chicago real estate