Buildings

LOCAL GROUP BUYS DRAKE HOTEL

June 16, 1979

(Chicago Tribune) - AFTER weeks of rumors of a sale and denials by both sides, a group of investors have entered into an agreement to purchase the Drake Hotel from Drake Hotel, Inc.

An announcement of the agreement was made Friday by DH Venture, a limited partnership headed by Edward Ross and Jerrold Wexler.  The two men, officers of Jupiter Corp., are major Chicago real estate developers and investors, who, over the years, have been involved in ownership of hotels, high-rise apartment buildings and condominiums.

Under the agreement, DH Venture will acquire ownership of the building, renting the land under the structure on a long-term lease agreement.  The sales price of the building at 100 E. Lake Shore Dr. was not revealed, nor was the value of the land lease, which will provide continuing income for Drake Hotel, Inc.

THE NEW owners said in a statement that they intend to operate the Drake as “the most prestigious hotel in Chicago.”  Ross told The Tribune that an addition to the building may be constructed but “nothing is planned immediately.”

“We really bought an existing, ongoing hotel, and whether we add a room or not, we’re satisfied it is a very viable venture,” he said.

The new owners said they don’t intend to change “the character, service, or staff” of the Drake.

CONNECTICUT GENERAL Life Insurance Co. will provide the partnership with financing for its acquisition.

Though the seller will continue to operate its Drake Oakbrook Hotel, the new owners will have the right to retain the Drake name for the downtown property.

“We wouldn’t buy the hotel without it,” Ross said.  “A good part of the value of the hotel is the name.”

Commenting on earlier denials on the sale, Ross said:  “Until you really have a deal made, you’ve got employees that are uneasy, and you can’t make them feel the jobs they have may be in jeopardy.”

The Drake was constructed in 1921 by Tracy and John B. Drake for a reported $10 million.

 

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