New Chateau Owners to Vacate Residents for Gut Rehab
While the hotel's new owners still hadn't been announced Tuesday, plans for the residents and the interior were divulged. The alderman is beginning work to help residents relocate, officials said.
Although officials still did not announce the new owners of Hotel Chateau on Tuesday, their lawyers did share plans to completely gut and rehab the facility.
Mitchell Asher—he's the lawyer representing the newly formed LLC behind the building’s buyers—told a judge during a hearing Tuesday that his clients have the funding to complete the renovation. However, that means residents will need to find somewhere else to live.
“This building will be completely gutted,” Asher said. “… It has to be vacated.”
Ald. James Cappleman (46th) confirmed the new owner’s plans, saying it’s still too early to say when Chateau’s current tenants will need to find other housing. The Department of Family Support Services will be interviewing residents to sort out relocation options, said Cappleman, who was candid about the facility at 3838 N. Broadway Ave.
“It’s appalling. I’m speechless,” he said. “We reviewed the living situation at Hotel Chateau and it’s much worse than I ever dreamed possible, and I’m alarmed. … It is not safe for those people (living at Hotel Chateau), and my focus now is saving people's lives.”
Cappleman said the situation is difficult because Hotel Chateau isn’t government-funded housing, but rather market-rate housing that comes with extremely low rent. Some people living there may not be receiving government assistance, meaning they can’t contact their agent to work out relocation opportunities.
“We reviewed the living situation at Hotel Chateau and it’s much worse than I ever dreamed possible, and I’m alarmed."
That’s exactly why the Cappleman is working with the various government agencies to interview residents regarding their options.
And while officials would not confirm who the new owner is, the most valid rumor points to BJB Principal Jamie Purcell, who also purchased the Abbott Hotel in Lake View. Triangle Neighbors President Jim Ludwig said he believed the official buyer has been withheld to avoid a “potential protest.”
With residents from the building at the hearing, news that they may soon have to move didn’t fall on deaf ears. Some surrounded Cappleman in the hallway afterward, asking where they are supposed to live once Chateau is gutted.
“You just made 100 people homeless!” said Henrietta Riley, a one-year resident of the building. “What are you going to do about that?”
Others cited the alderman’s desire to make living at the Chateau humane, saying they’ll soon be homeless because of his “humanity.”
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Cappleman admitted there were many loose ends regarding details and a specific time line. He said because of the number of Chateau's building violations, he must follow the law to correct them. Wrinkles regarding where current tenants will live will be ironed out with the help of the Department of Family Services.
“These people are living in affordable market-rate housing, but it’s just so substandard,” he said.
Other than the vow to fix sprinkler systems and garbage chute violations—a similar promise made at the last court date—nothing was set in stone during the hearing in regards to the tenants.
The next court date is on March 5 at 11:30 a.m.