Evanston Officials Reject Sale of Lakefront Mansion

Pritzker-owned company sought to buy buildings and land from city, build boutique hotel

A group of Evanston residents who'd called on local leaders to halt the proposed sale of the Harley Clarke mansion got what they wanted Monday night.

Aldermen voted 6-3 to reject a $1.2 million offer from Tawani Enterprises to buy the city-owned lakefront building.

Tawani Enterprises is a firm owned by James Pritzker. The group sought to build a boutique hotel on the grounds, but nearby residents expressed concern about losing the beach access they currently enjoy on the 2.5 acre space.

Tawani Enterprises officials said they would keep some beach access if the project moves forward, EvanstonPatch reported. The city was initially seeking to only sell or lease the buildings, but Tawani's proposal also included a purchase of the surrounding land.

Residents posted yard signs in homes near the proposed project and lobbied the city council at the planned meeting.

The city wants to sell the property, arguing the upkeep is too expensive.

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