Purple Hotel site developer fails to show demo permit to Lincolnwood board
The Purple Hotel, as it appeared in October 2006, when village inspectors were finding sanitation problems inside that would soon lead to its closing. | Sun-Times Media file photo
Updated: December 10, 2012 1:57AM
LINCOLNWOOD — Village of Lincolnwood trustees expressed concern after the Skokie-based developer in charge of rebuilding the Purple Hotel failed to comply with a requirement to show proof he had filed an application for a demolition permit for two areas of the site — one an asbestos-infested retail space on Lincoln Avenue.
Jake Weiss, president of Weiss Properties, Inc., and the current owner of the Purple Hotel site, agreed last month at a Committee of the Whole meeting to move forward with a demolition permit for the destruction of two buildings on the property — the Suite 20/20 building on Touhy Avenue and the one-story strip-retail building on Lincoln Avenue, which is said to be laden with asbestos.
Weiss was instructed to show proof of the filed permit applications by Oct. 2, but his attorney, speaking on behalf of Weiss at the Oct. 2 Board of Trustees meeting, said the documents had not been filed because his client was not properly informed of the deadline and could not be reached because he was out of the office for the Jewish holiday, Sukkot.
Under the contract violation, trustees could have voted to draft a 48-hour demolition notice to tear down the entire Purple Hotel property and void Weiss’ $20-million plan to reuse the site for a multi-use hotel and convention center, but instead extended Weiss’ permit-application deadline to Friday of last week.
“This confusion can’t happen anymore in order for this process to continue,” Trustee Jesal Patel said.
Attorney Harold Francke, of Chicago law firm DLA Piper, promised to file all the paperwork by the end of the week.
Under an agreement between the village and Weiss Properties, Inc., and co-owner of the property North Capital Group (NGC), Weiss and NCG agreed to a list of compliance measures in exchange for the village’s agreement to halt demolition of the mold-infested, deteriorating property at 4500 W. Touhy.
Trustees reported last month that Weiss had complied with everything on the list except to file all necessary applications for demolition permits.
Before being granted a deadline extension, Francke took a verbal beating from trustees, who said there was no excuse for his client’s not having met the contract requirements.
“I’m troubled that Weiss couldn’t come up with any documentation to show that this is moving forward,” Trustee Nicholas Leftakes said. “You’re coming before us with nothing.”
But Mayor Jerry Turry argued that Weiss had been compliant up to that point.
“Let’s characterize the things they have done, because they have shown good faith,” Turry said.
Because the Cook County Environmental Protection Agency has to approve the part of the application required for the demolition of the asbestos-infested building, the full permit application for the retail building on Lincoln Avenue will take 10 days to complete, but village business manager Aaron Cook said the village would accept a partially completed application for that building.
The Purple Hotel — a well-known Lincolnwood landmark — was constructed in 1961 and later closed in 2007 after more than 30 building-code violations were discovered, including widespread mold infestation.
The village began moving forward with plans to bulldoze the property until Weiss stepped in and announced ambitious plans to turn the property into a 271-room boutique hotel with 40,000 square feet of banquet room and convention space.
The new hotel space is tentatively scheduled to open in summer 2014.