Wrecking Ball Has Reservation at Purple Hotel

After court authorizes Aug. 1 demolition, Lincolnwood creates special tax district to spur redevelopment.

Mold and neglect have been eating away at the since a judge shuttered its doors in January 2007. Now another court decision readies the wrecking ball for the lilac landmark at 4500 W. Touhy Ave.

Lincolnwood formally established a tax increment financing (TIF) district that includes the hotel property Thursday, on the heels of the court decision authorizing the demolition of the building at the property owner’s expense.

“The village has been very tolerant,” said Village Attorney Steven Elrod of Holland & Knight. “It’s unfortunate that it came to this.”

If Donald Bae’s Village Resorts Inc. does not bring the Purple Hotel into code compliance by Aug. 1, the village may topple the building in accordance with the Illinois Demolition Act.

Lincolnwood sued Village Resorts in March 2010 seeking a remedy for numerous health code violations. The resulting consent decree was confirmed by Cook County Circuit Judge Kathleen Pantle on Feb. 7.

The court decision penalizes the owner $500 for each health code violation, which now is about $15,500. It also requires Village Resorts to pay for Lincolnwood’s legal bill as well as any expenses incurred during demolition or restoration of the property.

If Village Resorts fails to pay for the demolition, the consent agreement grants the village a priority lien against the 8.5-acre property where the 293-room hotel sits.

The developments are the latest in what Mayor Gerald Turry called the “long, arduous process” of dealing with the hotel.

But residents should not expect anything new anytime soon—demolition fees of more than $1 million are unlikely to persuade Village Resorts to significantly lower its $25.8 million asking price for the property, which has sat vacant for four years.

Bae did not reply to inquiries for this article.

Community Development Director Tim Clarke presented three ordinances to the board Thursday that identified and approved a redevelopment plan for the area.

Clarke said he expects the TIF money to enable redevelopment that could raise the property’s value to more than $52 million over the 23-year span of the district.

Following a Jan. 20 public hearing , the board passed all three ordinances in a single vote, officially creating the TIF district.

Village Resorts’ attorney, Demetrios Kare, said cell phone service providers US Cellular, Sprint and Nextel would work with the village to find alternative sites for cell towers currently on the property.

“All things considered, I think we were pretty happy,” Kare said.

Demolition has become increasingly likely over the past three years, Elrod said, making it unlikely that Bae will correct the health violations now. In that event, the property’s future will be tied to the success of the newly established TIF district—which includes the Republic Bank at the southwest corner of the intersection as well as Tuffy’s Auto across the street.

George Slefo (Editor) February 25, 2011 at 03:30 PM
I'm kind of sad about this, because I'm so used to seeing the Purple Hotel around town. And I'm kind of happy, because this place is an eyesore. Too bad it had to come end like this. Goodbye Purple Hotel!
Carmie Callobre February 25, 2011 at 03:56 PM
Nostalgic for me as the place my brother got married - but that was 25 years ago! It has been unused for so long and is in terrible condition. Plus now I always think of the hotel as the place where teamster Allen Dorfman was killed. Demolition (a sure thing now) won't start will end of summer?
Gary Gand February 25, 2011 at 06:28 PM
It's an icon and in a short time after its torn down, everybody will be complaining that "somebody should have done something to save it." It will most likely become a vacant lot with nothing on it for decades, as there is no money to "improve" the lot or it would have been improved already. It will become a weed patch and garbage yard for abandoned furniture, with an ugly cyclone fence around it. Is that really better then the "eyesore" it has become? Daily raced to get the Michael Reese Hospital torn down for the Olympic bid, which went elsewhere. Now its a vacant lot.
martin gonzalez February 25, 2011 at 09:46 PM
It's a beautful hotel, here is how it looks inside http://www.flickr.com/photos/25165196@N08/sets/72157622041105536/with/4872422969/
George Slefo (Editor) February 25, 2011 at 10:08 PM
WOW Martin these are awesome pics! How did you get them? With your permission, can I post to the website? I'll be sure to give you credit for the photos. Please let me know by posting a comment or emailing me at georges@patch.com thanks!
Parag Shah March 09, 2011 at 01:27 PM
Wow....the hotel is certainly an eye catchy. http://www.skokiecomfortinn.com/
philip w venticinque September 04, 2012 at 01:57 AM
It is a complete shame to see something this special (one of a kind) torn down. It could be something fantastic again. I hope someone comes to their senses and saves it afterall.
George Slefo (Editor) September 04, 2012 at 02:05 AM
@ Philip - We have good news for you! Someone has stepped in to save the Purple Hotel. You can read our most recent story here: http://skokie.patch.com/articles/local-developer-continues-on-path-of-bringing-back-purple-hotel#photo-10625892 Thanks for the comment! Best, George


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