Wednesday, December 5, 2012

James Pritzker plans hotel at Evanston mansion

James Pritzker is the last man standing in the bidding for the Harley Clarke Mansion in Evanston, a historic lakefront building that he wants to convert into a boutique hotel.

Tawani Enterprises Inc., the Chicago-based investment firm Mr. Pritzker controls, was the only party that submitted a formal offer to buy the property at 2603 Sheridan Road from the city of Evanston, according to a city memorandum.

The city, which has owned the 20,275-square-foot building since 1965, leases it to the Evanston Art Center, which would move out. The city began soliciting offers for the property in May, courting buyers and long-term tenants that would renovate and occupy the building, though it still could decide to reject Mr. Pritzker's offer.

The Evanston City Council “hasn't made a decision on what it wants to do, so there could be a sale, there could be a lease or there could be nothing — all those options exist,” said Joe McRae, deputy city manager.

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