Stone Porch by the Lake, the Jennifer Pritzker-owned bed and breakfast at 300 Church St. in Evanston, opened this month, and Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl is scheduled to be on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony next week.

Pritzker’s B&B plan was the subject of heated opposition from some neighbors in the lakefront neighborhood after plans for it were announced three years ago.

Opponents claimed to fear “commercial intrusion” in a single family residential neighborhood and argued that the city’s bed and breakfast ordinance was meant to be available to only empty nesters who wanted to rent out a room or two in the home where they lived.

Pritzker, a billionaire, lives on the block, but not in the B&B, and set up a limited liability company in which she holds the major financial stake to own the property, with a minority ownership interest held by the on-site owner-operator.

Despite the objections, aldermen approved the project on a 7-2 vote.

Pritzker acquired the property for $2.25 million and reportedly has spent at least another $2 million restoring the 1889 Tudor mansion. It now offers five guest bedrooms and what its website describes as “the ultimate luxury experience.”

When neighbors learned Pritzker planned to acquire another property on the block, at 1622 Forest Place, they tried to persuade the city to adopt rules requiring a 1,000 foot separation between bed and breakfast establishments and to require that the majority owner of a B&B live at the property.

But the City Council ultimately rejected such restrictions in 2012 and again this year and approved the second Pritzker B&B, which is still undergoing renovation. 

The ribbon cutting is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 30.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Beautiful Renovation!

    That corner has never looked nicer and it's the perfect place for a B&B.  I look forward to seeing Pritzker's next effort and wish the city would sell her the ligthouse property.  She understands historic renovation (see her amazing work at Chicago's Monroe Building) and has the resources to complete what she starts.

  2. Is the ribbon-cutting open to

    Is the ribbon-cutting open to the public? If so, would we be able to take a respectful peek at the refurbished interior? Thanks.

  3. The Stone Porch is lovely.  I

    The Stone Porch is lovely.  I am a home owner just a few blocks away and couldn't be more thrilled with the restoration.  I run by the house every week and go up on the porch to see the latest.  It is a very busy corner and not desirable for a private residence necessarily.  The B&B is a perfect solution as is the Tudor down the street.  The homes are like living art pieces and cost a fortune.  We are so lucky to have someone as wealthy and amazingly committed to historic renovation investing in our community and public spaces.  Colonel Pritzker just announced plans to build historic rowhouses in the City.  Too bad Evanston is twiddling its thumbs with the state on the Healey Clarke mansion.  Of course it would be lovely to have a public building focused on the Great Lakes but has anyone seen the state of the Thompson Center lately???  It is horrible and would be a travesty if that level of care were taken at this site – go in to the building – it is a goregous disaster.  A historic hotel with publicly available rooms and the public areas untouched would be a tremendous improvement for the entire community – and Colonel Pritzker has shown an unwavering commitment to her community.  We should embrace it.

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