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So long, Purple Hotel. Hello, ‘new urbanism’?

Renderings show retail office hotel complex planned for site former Purple Hotel Touhy Lincoln Lincolnwood.

Renderings show retail, office and hotel complex planned for the site of the former Purple Hotel at Touhy and Lincoln in Lincolnwood.

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Updated: October 26, 2013 6:34AM



Developers have issued the first renderings of what could be built on the Lincolnwood site of the old Purple Hotel, which is now being demolished. The hotel, known for rodents and sex parties, had become thoroughly debauched; its successor would aspire to starched respectability.

But if Lincolnwood isn’t careful, it might get something a tad bland to replace a hotel that at least was colorful, in a literal and figurative sense.

North Capital Group, whose partners include Urban Retail Properties Co. and First Hospitality Group, has produced a mostly retail- and food-oriented complex for the 11 acres at 4500 W. Touhy. A 210-room hotel would go along the northern part of the site with frontage on Lincoln Avenue.

The retailers would be grouped in four buildings. Architect Joseph Antunovich of Antunovich Associates said the design typifies a “new urbanist” approach, with wide sidewalks, several gathering places and a small park. The layout encourages the stores to present unique facades, suggesting a “town center,” he said. About a third of the parking spaces will be hidden below grade, Antunovich said.

But the renderings also show a lot of hard edges, concrete and places where pedestrians will have to look out for cars. North Capital principal Neal Stein said the design is subject to ongoing review from the village, but that initial feedback has been positive.

Stein said the layout presents a lot of corner spaces that retailers covet. Ross Glickman, chairman of Urban Retail, said six operators have signed letters of intent to move in. All are either a restaurant or an entertainment concept, he said.

The bird’s-eye view in renderings emphasizes the flat gray roofs of the retail buildings. If this were in Chicago, rooftop vegetation would be ordered to slice the heat island effect.

Stein said he’ll include some “green roofs” and other features to win certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, the arbiter of environmentally friendly construction. The project will cost up to $130 million, he said.

The plans got their first public review Tuesday night at a village plan commission hearing, one of several meetings that will be devoted to the design.

TURNING THE CORNER: A demand for exclusive retail space in the Gold Coast has led Evanston-based landlord Ralph Marol to plan a new building for the northeast corner of State and Cedar, where Rush Street stops. Marol wants to tear down the one-story building that contains a Corner Bakery, among other things, and replace it with three stories and 27,000 square feet.

His plan needs city zoning approval. It calls for ground-floor and basement retail space with 12-foot ceilings. He’s proposing ground-floor rent of about $225 per square foot, probably pricing out the bakery. The upper floors could get a major restaurant.

Marol has hired Baum Realty Group LLC and Colliers International to market the space.

WORKING ON THE WALNUT: Macy’s is restoring the Walnut Room on the seventh floor of the State Street store. The restaurant will stay open as Macy’s works to bring the Circassian wood back to its original sheen. The work is to be done Nov. 1, in time for the tree lighting and for that annual trek for the chicken pot pie.

GALLOPING GOURMET: The high-end segment is what’s putting the yeast in the Chicago-area grocery market, according to Mid-America Real Estate Corp. In its biennial Urban Grocery Study, Mid-America reported that since 2011, the region has seen a 60 percent increase in square footage by gourmet grocers. The expansion is driven largely by the Mariano’s chain, now moving heavily into wealthy and densely populated neighborhoods.

Full-service and discount groceries, meanwhile, are struggling to hold what they have, the study said.

Mid-America principal Dan Tausk said the gourmet side, which also includes Whole Foods, has opened larger stores to appeal to one-stop shoppers. “They’re betting that bigger stores with the prepared foods element and strong staples can persuade the consumer to consolidate their grocery visits like our parents used to,” Tausk said.

Discounter Aldi has scaled back expansion plans, Dominick’s eyes no new stores and Jewel may be up for only limited growth, the report said.

DOING THE DEALS: Bridge Development Partners LLC, having acquired 41 acres at 8201 W. 47th St. in McCook with Akard Street Partners, plans two buildings there. The first will be a 365,000 square foot center leased to trade-show manager Freeman. Later this year, Bridge will break ground on 226,000-square-foot industrial building that has yet to be leased. Colliers International is representing the space. . . . SAC Wireless LLC, represented by CBRE Group Inc., leased 32,000 square feet at 1501 E. Woodfield Road, Schaumburg. . . . Real-estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. leased 7,800 square feet at 350 E. 22nd St., Lombard, for its information technology department.

David Roeder reports on real estate at 6:22 p.m. Thursdays on WBBM-AM (780) and WBBM-FM (105.9). The reports are repeated at 10:22 p.m. Thursday and 7:22 a.m. Sunday.



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