$15-20M Renovation Planned For North Shore Retirement Hotel

Under new ownership by Horizon Realty Group, North Shore Residence–formerly the North Shore Retirement Hotel– will undergo $15-20M renovations.
With plans for an eight-story addition, sky lit lobby and refurbished banquet hall, the North Shore Residence—formerly the North Shore Retirement Hotel—is about to get a facelift.
Located at 1611 Chicago Ave., the building was purchased on Aug. 31, 2012 by father and son Daniel and Jeffrey Michael of Horizon Realty Group.
“The current property has been long neglected and underperforming,” Jeffrey Michael said. “We have a vision to make it a luxurious, high-end rental community for independent seniors that will have the look and feel of coming into a luxury hotel like the Four Seasons.”
The existing building was built in 1919 as a 350-room hotel, but has catered to retirees since the early 1960s. Before Horizon Realty Group acquired the hotel, it had a high vacancy rate, as many residents left in response to the age and poor condition of the building and its amenities and facilities, according to an announcement Public Relations agent Jim Capalbo posted on Patch.
Horizon Realty Group plans to add an eight-story, 85-foot tower to the existing building, along with other renovations, at a projected cost of $15-20 million. The addition will be built where an outdoor swimming pool is currently located.
Horizon Realty Group hopes to start construction this November, with completion by November 2014, according to Michael.
There are 185 apartments in the existing building, but 60 to 65 of them lack kitchens or bathrooms, according to Horizon Realty’s Planned Development Submission. These units will be combined during the renovation, to make 140 larger apartments in the existing building.
The residence will not lose rooms, however. In the new building, 65 new units will be available, which will give the residence a total of 205 apartments, 20 more than it houses currently.
All apartments are available for rent, rather than ownership, as many retirees may want a seasonal, extended stay option or may no longer want homeowner responsibilities, according the announcement.
The addition will offer residents a number of new amenities as well.
“The new addition will allow us to provide new amenities and public spaces that the current building is lacking,” Michael said.
According to Michael, there will be a state of the art fitness center, swimming pool, spa, theater, card room, game room, meeting spaces and public spaces.
The new building will also house a four season lobby atrium below a massive skylight, a rooftop terrace with a view of downtown Evanston and Lake Michigan, open area for Barcelona Tapas’s outdoor seating patio, which will be roofed, and 2,500 square feet of rentable retail space.
The buildings current main floor tenants, Joy Yee’s Noodles, 527 Café and Barcelona Restaurant will stay. The remaining retail spaces have been leased, according to Michael, except for a corner space on Chicago Avenue and Davis Street. Horizon Realty is currently speaking with several potential tenants about leasing the corner space.
Horizon Realty Group also plans to renovate the first floor of the existing structure, adding a new banquet hall open to non-residents, with an entrance on Davis Street.
According to architect John Myefski, the group’s goal is to “restore [the building’s] original splendor… and restore the ballroom to the original historical feel that it had.”
Myefski said the main mass of the new structure will be brick, and the material above will be a lighter brick, similar to stucco.
“We’re not trying to make it look like an extension of the existing building. We thought that that would be doing a disservice to that building, with the Tudor style,” Michael said. “We feel like we came up with a plan that complements what’s there right now and doesn’t fight it.”
Michael said the addition has elicited a positive reaction from current tenants and that residents seem excited about the overall plans.
“If we weren’t to do this addition, there are serious questions of whether or not the North Shore Retirement Hotel would be able to survive, just because it doesn’t have the types of amenities that seniors are looking for in today’s market,” Michael said. “It goes without saying that what we’re doing there is going to facilitate and resurrect the North Shore Retirement Hotel.”