Purple Hotel set to begin demolition next week
BY NATALIE HAYES For Sun-Times Media August 21, 2013 8:14PM
The Purple Hotel, at Touhy and Lincoln Avenue in Lincolnwood, in 2006. | Sun-Times Media files
Updated: September 23, 2013 2:47PM
The Purple Hotel is set to finally begin demolition next week, ending the notorious hotel’s tenure at the intersection of Touhy and Lincoln avenues in Lincolnwood.
During Tuesday’s Lincolnwood Village Board meeting, Skokie-based North Capital Group LLC, which acquired the property for $8.3 million out of bankruptcy last year, announced that demolition will begin the week of Aug. 26.
Neil Stein, principal of North Capital Group, said he was waiting for the village to issue a demolition permit and would start bringing wrecking equipment to the site Monday pending the issuance of that permit.
Stein has said that the ultimate goal for the site is to “transform it into an avid destination,” providing a general idea of the redevelopment plan, which includes a mixed-use space with retail, office, residential and hotel areas.
The destruction of the Purple Hotel marks the end of an era in Lincolnwood, stretching more than 50 years for North Shore residents who remember attending parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs and conventions at the hotel back when it was the go-to hot spot for social gatherings.
Its parking lot was the ambush site of mobster Allen Dorfman in 1983.
And its business included hosting meetings of “swingers’ clubs” that sometimes drew concern from local police and created friction with other guests. Convicted political insider Stuart Levine — who testified at two corruption trials — admitted that he snorted 10 lines of animal tranquilizer mixed with crystal meth and went to other drug-binge parties at the Purple Hotel.
The unusual color was said to be due to a brickyard’s mistake. The original owner, the Hyatt chain, built hotels elsewhere using dark blue hues, and a bad batch was shipped to Lincolnwood, owner Donald Bae had said.
Thousands of Purple Hotel fans lined up during Lincolnwood Fest the first weekend of August, where Stein sold 2,500 purple bricks to the public and donated the proceeds to the Lincolnwood Public Library.
More than 6,000 other bricks have been removed from the hotel in advance of next week’s scheduled demolition.
“The rest of the bricks are in storage, and we plan to feature them as part of the redevelopment,” Stein said. “They’ll be added to a walkway, fountain area or another part of the development.”