Quantcast

Pritzker only bidder left for city’s lakefront mansion

james-n-pritzker

Only one of the four parties that expressed interest earlier this year in buying the lakefront Harley Clarke mansion from the city submitted a formal proposal by last week's deadline.

That bid came from Tawani Enterprises, Inc., controlled by Col. James N. Pritzker, who wants to turn the mansion into a boutique hotel and events center.

One other party also interested in turning the mansion in to a boutique hotel, TOCO LLC, sent the city a letter saying it had concluded the cost of renovating the property would be about twice what would be required to make the project profitable.

The Hadley Clarke mansion, the current home of the Evanston Arts Center (file photo).

Another interested party, the Beacon Academy, which hopes to open a school in Evanston in 2014, concluded it couldn't compete financially with the for-profit bidders.

And the city didn't get any response from the fourth interested party.

Pritzker, one of 11 cousins in the billionaire family best known for ownership of the Hyatt Hotel chain has focused much of his efforts on the Pritzker Military Library.

But the Evanston resident won approval from Evanston aldermen last year to open a bed and breakfast in a home at 300 Church St., despite sharp opposition from many of his lakefront neighbors.

Tawani Enterprises also lists investments in other real estate including the Cat's Cradle Bed and Breakfast in Rogers Park, which is described on its website as "Chicago's newest and most lavish bed and breakfast."

The city's Human Services Committee will be asked by city staff tonight to schedule a closed-door meeting later this month to consider Pritzker's bid for the property.

A memo from City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says the executive session would be in keeping with past practice regarding the sale of city property.

Aldermen voted to consider sale of the mansion, but not the park and beachfront that surrounds it, after concluding that neither the city, nor the Evanston Arts Center, which currently leases the building from the city, had the resources to make needed capital improvements to the building.

Update 12/4/12: The Human Services Committee voted to hold the closed door meeting about the offer to purchase the mansion at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 17.

Editors’ Picks