The Purple Hotel in July 2012
|Location||4500 West Touhy Avenue,
|Architect||Hausner & Macsai|
|NRHP Reference #||13000553|
|Added to NRHP||July 31, 2013|
The Purple Hotel, also known as the Hyatt House Hotel, was a hotel located at 4500 West Touhy Avenue in Lincolnwood, Illinois. Built in 1960, the hotel was Hyatt's first Midwest hotel and became known for its purple brick exterior. The hotel served as Hyatt's flagship Chicago area hotel until the 1970s and featured two restaurants and live music from popular acts. In 1983, Teamsters lawyer and alleged mobster Allen Dorfman was killed in the hotel's parking lot. After a series of ownership changes, the hotel closed in 2007 and was demolished in August 2013. The hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in July 2013.
The hotel opened in 1960 as the Lincolnwood Hyatt House. Architects Hausner & Macsai designed the building in a modern design. The source of its unusual purple exterior is disputed: an owner claimed it was intended to be dark blue and the purple was a manufacturing error, while the original architect claims that his clients had specifically chosen the purple bricks against his recommendation. The hotel's amenities included two upscale restaurants, Tessy's and T.J. Peppercorn's; an outdoor pool, which one visiting pianist called "the greatest"; and live entertainment from musicians such as Perry Como, Roberta Flack, and Barry Manilow.
The hotel became known for a murder in 1983, when Teamsters lawyer and alleged Chicago Outfit mobster Allen Dorfman was shot in its parking lot. Dorfman had recently been convicted of conspiracy to bribe a U.S. Senator and was likely killed to prevent him from releasing information to authorities in exchange for a lighter sentence. The hotel also hosted swingers parties in the 1980s; according to convict Stuart Levine's testimony in two corruption trials, the parties were notorious for sex and heavy drug usage. In the 1990s, the hotel changed ownership and was operated by Radisson and Ramada, until it simply became known as the Purple Hotel in 2004.
Closure and demolition
The Purple Hotel closed in January 2007 due to health code violations. A village inspection had found mold in 208 of the 225 rooms visited as well as failing windows, roof leakage, and problems with the hotel's fire sprinkler system. After the hotel closed, the village threatened to demolish it unless a developer was willing to restore it. The building and property were auctioned to a Lincolnwood resident, sole bidder Jake Weiss. His new ownership realized a near-replica rebuilding of The Purple Hotel – complete with already purchased and loaned artifacts from the original. He teamed up with the Skokie-based North Capital Group along with architect Jackie Koo to rehabilitate the 8.5-acre property. A campaign to save the hotel began and the building was eventually listed on the National Register of Historic Places in July 2013. The North Capital Group purchased the building in 2011, intending to preserve and renovate the hotel. The group eventually decided instead to demolish it and convert the property to a mixed-use retail development. Before its demolition, the hotel's purple bricks were sold off at the 2013 Lincolnwood Fest as a fundraiser for the Lincolnwood Public Library. The hotel was demolished on August 27, 2013. As of March 20, 2014, plans were underway for the property development renaming the property The Shoppes At Lincoln Pointe along with a SpringHill Suites Hotel.
- "Hyatt House Hotel". National Register of Historic Places Program. National Park Service. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- "Developer Wants To Restore, Revive Lincolnwood’s Purple Hotel". CBS 2 Chicago. December 29, 2011. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- Hayes, Natalie (August 21, 2013). "Purple Hotel set to begin demolition next week". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- Cox, Brian L. (August 27, 2013). "The Purple Hotel is nearly history". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
- Schroedter, Andrew (May 3, 2007). "It's check-out time for a colorful hotel". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- Placko, Dane (October 8, 2012). "Infamous Purple Hotel to become retail complex". Fox 32 Chicago. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- "Koo to the Rescue". Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- "Save the Purple Hotel". Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- Pukelis, Louis (July 24, 2013). "North Capital Group to swap Purple Hotel bricks for books during Lincolnwood Fest 2013". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- Roeder, David (August 27, 2013). "Purple Hotel fades to black: Wrecking ball tears through notorious landmark". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
- Hyatt House Hotel National Register of Historic Places Program
- The Shoppes at Lincoln Pointe
- Strowger and Purple Reign Redux - podcast episode includes interviews with the architect and first-hand accounts
- Purple Hotel 3D Google Earth model
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