“The real estate investor that bought a distressed Streeterville hotel last year has purchased another downtown property in need of a jolt of life: The Standard Club building in the Loop. A venture of real estate investor Remo Polselli last week bought the 11-story building at 320 S. Plymouth Ct., according to sources familiar with the transaction.
“Polselli acquired the 166,000-square-foot property from the Standard Club, the storied members-only social and business institution that closed the facility in 2020 amid financial troubles.
“The deal likely crushes any chance of the Standard Club group itself reopening in the property and tees up what could be a dramatic repositioning of the 96-year-old building, which is said to be in need of costly upgrades. Local real estate investors have speculated that the building could be turned into a boutique hotel or a residential use, such as student housing in an area rife with urban campus schools, including Roosevelt University, Columbia College Chicago and Harold Washington College.
“The Standard Club building was dealing with its own problems before the public health crisis set in. Stung by operating losses and declining membership, the club disclosed during the first week of March 2020—just days before the pandemic began—that it would close on May 1 and was putting its property up for sale.
“The club said in a statement to Crain’s at the time that it hoped to find a “synergistic business relationship” with a partner to put the club on more solid financial footing, holding out hope that it might reconvene in all or part of the building. But the group also told its members then that the best offer “may be to sell the clubhouse entirely in order to satisfy the club’s debts and obligations and reimagine the club.”
“One source familiar with the building sale said the transaction will allow the club to pay former employees and meet unfunded pension liabilities, among other costs.” (Ecker, Crain’s Chicago Business, 3/3/22)
Preservation Chicago encourages stakeholders to include a Landmark designation of the The Standard Club as part of the process moving forward to recognize its important history. The Standard Club was designed by Albert Kahn, an architect well known for his buildings linked to the automotive industry in Detroit, and one of only a handful of buildings by Kahn in Chicago. This club has an amazing history dating back to the early days of Chicago. Its exterior and interior spaces, including ballrooms, historic lobbies, murals by Sol LeWitt, and linoleum cuts of important events in Chicago history by Edgar Miller should all be protected by a Chicago Landmark Designation.