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The Purple Hotel heads for demolition
There’s a new pecking order in the partnership that owns Lincolnwood’s old Purple Hotel at 4500 W. Touhy Ave. The architect that worked on the project and advocated reusing the building is off the job. And a new sense of fiscal reality seems to be settling in.
The latest plan for the 8.5-acre site, the best-known property in Lincolnwood, calls for tearing down the hotel, purple bricks and all. Advancing it is Neal Stein, who has taken over from fellow investor Jake Weiss in speaking for the development.
Stein said Weiss remains part of the deal, but much has changed. The Lincolnwood Village Board on Tuesday night heard Stein’s revised plans for new construction hotel rooms and stores on the property. But no architect has been hired, so details at this point are scant.
The original plan from architect Jackie Koo called for saving the 293-room structure and perhaps adding a mesh over the brick, allowing the color to remain while minimizing its look. The owners wanted to convince the state that the 1960s building was historic enough to merit tax breaks for preserving it.
But sources familiar with the project said the renovation costs just kept rising. This was a place, remember, that had so many code violations that the village got it partially shut down before it closed for good in 2007. Memories of rodents and mold are hard to purge. Sources said hotel operators declined to put their name on a reopened Purple.
Stein, principal of North Capital Group, said he has joint venture deals with Chicago-based mall owner Urban Retail Properties and hotel management company SuperHost Enterprise. He promised a “public gathering place” would be part of the mix.
Koo said she is “extremely disappointed” that the building now could be torn down. “I think demolition of that building is a shame. It’s another blow to modernism in architecture after Prentice,” she said, referring to Northwestern University’s plan to take down the old Prentice hospital in Streeterville, the work of Bertrand Goldberg.
Koo became famous in the architecture with her work on the Wit Hotel, 201 N. State St. She has another commission to take the edge off losing the Purple. Koo is designing the “gay-friendly” Out Hotel planned for 3343 N. Halsted St.
DOING THE DEALS: Coeur d’Alene Mines leased two floors, about 30,000 square feet, in the Monroe Building at 104 S. Michigan Ave. The gold and silver producer is due to move it headquarters to Chicago from Idaho in September and plans to have about 100 people working here. Jones Lang LaSalle represented the tenant. … General Growth Properties, safely out of bankruptcy, can start spending its money on things like office space again. It hired J.C. Anderson to handle a renovation of General Growth’s 170,000 square feet at 110 N. Wacker Drive. … Stage Equity Partners spent $7.2 million for a 52,000-square-foot medical office complex at 901 Biesterfield Road, Elk Grove Village. Janko & Wool Real Estate Finance advised in the deal.
Above: The Purple Hotel in “better” days. Photo by Joel Wintermantle