Purple hotel plan heads to Lincolnwood commission
A rendering of Purple Hotel plans, with future developments slated for the green plots along Lincoln Avenue. | Courtesy Weiss Properties, Inc.
Updated: April 8, 2013 7:25AM
A Skokie-based developer’s proposal to save the Purple Hotel and use it as an anchor for a new development now rests in the lap of a Lincolnwood commission.
North Capital Group submitted a planned unit development application to the village last week, seeking to rehab the iconic hotel at 4500 W. Touhy Ave. and surround it with retail, offices and a spa.
It’s the latest step the developer has taken to renovate the hotel, as part of a schedule laid out by the village after the property was bought out of bankruptcy.
A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for April 24, where it will go before the Lincolnwood Plan Commission.
Jake Weiss, president of Weiss Properties, Inc., and the current owner of the Purple Hotel site, is steadfastly pursuing the $28 million renovation built on preserving the colorful building’s existing structure.
“I think we’re bringing to life something that does fulfill the spirit of what the village wants for this property,” Weiss said.
He said important components of the development – particularly related to parking and retail – would continue to be hashed out as the project moves forward.
His latest plan kicks off the redevelopment with a full-service, 208-room hotel with 40,000 square feet of restaurant and multi-purpose space, as well as a spa.
Later, approximately 33,000 square feet of retail and 12,000 square feet of office space would be added.
“I can deliver this and it can be a huge asset to the village, as it once was in the past,” Weiss said. “I want support.”
The Lincolnwood Plan Commission endorsed Weiss’ plans on Feb. 20 after participating in two workshops with the developer’s representatives.
However, some commission members, as well as a village trustee, took issue with the developer’s phased “build it and they will come” approach.
George Touras said an area’s parking situation dictates whether shop owners get on board, and wanted to see more advance planning in that respect.
North Capital Group representatives said a revised count of 395 parking spaces would be more than enough to accommodate the first phase of development, which focuses on the hotel. Weiss said his team is also reaching out to nearby property owners to explore off-site parking options, such as for valet.
Village trustee Nicholas Leftakes, who has been openly critical about keeping the existing hotel standing, claimed the developer “whittled down” details for securing retail and other development opportunities since last summer.
Weiss’ attorney, Harold Francke, argued the hotel needs to get up and running for other pieces to fall into place.
Weiss expects to debut the boutique hotel independent of a major flag in order to attract the right four- or five-star hotel operator. He’s also in the midst of securing protected landmark status for the Purple Hotel for a five-year period.
“The driving force of this site is the hotel,” Francke said. “(Weiss) has as much, if not more, writing on it.”
“The reality remains it’s the hotel first.”