Iconic Purple Hotel demolished to make way for retail space - Fox 2 News Headlines

Iconic Purple Hotel demolished to make way for new developments

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Old Purple Hotel was a favorite haunt for actors and mobsters. But the Lincolnwood establishment is now history, as it came crumbling to the ground on Tuesday.

The iconic hotel was demolished Tuesday morning, to make way for mixed use development at the busy corner of Touhy and Lincoln.

Regardless, The Purple Hotel leaves quite a legacy.

The Purple Hotel was the first Pritzker family Hyatt Hotel when it was built in the early 1960s and became an alternative to Chicago's downtown hotels.

"He asked, ‘What color bricks will we use?' I said beige," Purple Hotel architect John Macsai said. "He said I don't like beige. He pointed to the purple and said, ‘I like that.'"

The distinct color attracted attention from locals to celebrities like Barry Manilow, Perry Como and Roberta Flack.

But, the hotel had a dark history as well. In 1983, teamsters lawyer Allen Dorfman was gunned down in the Purple Hotel's parking lot-- one of Chicago's most notorious gang hits. It was a scene recreated in the movie "Casino."

And in 2008, political fixer Stuart Levine testified about wild drug parties at the hotel. Levine was a key witness in the case against former Governor Rod Blagojevich. The hotel has been vacant for several years. Its former splendor reduced to an eyesore.

That notoriety stuck. Business declined over the years and so did the property, which closed in 2007.

Even though new restaurants, stores and a hotel will replace it, it's believed the Purple Hotel won't be forgotten.

Lincolnwood Mayor Gerald Turry was among hundreds who turned out Tuesday to offer a toast and say goodbye; many taking a final picture of the place that holds so many personal memories.

"Having a banquet or a wedding or a Bar Mitzvah or a communion or God knows what…It was the place to come to," Turry remembers.

"I worked here in 1981, got married here, started my career here," Hyatt employee Sal Galioto said. "It's important."

Purple bricks were given away to the sentimental, which helped raise money for the local library.Several thousand other bricks will be salvaged to build a fountain or a walkway at the new development.

The developer hopes to start construction on the space next summer.

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