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updated: 7/26/2017 10:38 AM

Affordable housing group to rehab downtown Mundelein's Central Hotel

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  • The historic Central Hotel building at 534 N. Seymour Ave. in downtown Mundelein will be rehabbed into a residential duplex. The building has long been considered a headache for village officials.

      The historic Central Hotel building at 534 N. Seymour Ave. in downtown Mundelein will be rehabbed into a residential duplex. The building has long been considered a headache for village officials.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • The historic Central Hotel building at 534 N. Seymour Ave. in Mundelein will be rehabbed into a residential duplex.

      The historic Central Hotel building at 534 N. Seymour Ave. in Mundelein will be rehabbed into a residential duplex.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 

Long an eyesore in downtown Mundelein, the historic Central Hotel building is going to be rehabbed by the Affordable Housing Corp. of Lake County and rented out as a residential duplex.

Through a court order, the housing agency has acquired temporary possession of the white, two-story building at 534 N. Seymour Ave., which dates to 1886 and is one of the oldest standing buildings in Lake County.

That order enables the group to fix up and lease the building's two existing apartments to qualified tenants.

Mundelein Trustee Ray Semple was pleasantly surprised by the development, which was announced at Monday's village board meeting.

"It is great that this historic structure is getting some (care) and will be home to a couple of families," Semple said.

A housing corporation representative couldn't be reached for comment.

The building has been a headache for Mundelein since the 1970s because of seemingly endless safety violations and legal fights with its owners.

Village officials tried to have the building demolished in 2008 because the owners refused to make repairs, but those efforts stopped when an attorney promised the structure would be fixed up.

A renovation was completed in 2009 and tenants moved in, but they were forced out in 2014 by raw sewage in the basement and other safety problems.

Lake County property records indicate the building last was sold in 2009, and a trustee identified only as "J. Harrison" of Madison, Wisconsin, had control of the property from then until the housing agency took action.

Previous records listed a Michigan resident named Charles Pelfresne as a trustee for the building. Records also have listed members of the Schiessle family as owners.

Court records indicate the Pelfresnes and the Schiessles are related, and village officials have suspected the property was at the center of a family legal battle.

Rather than purchasing the building, the housing corporation got temporary possession through a court order issued in March, according to documents filed with the Lake County recorder of deeds. It legally took possession of the building in June.

To encourage the rehabilitation of the building, Mundelein trustees on Monday agreed to erase $23,430 in village liens on the property.

But the debts won't be expunged immediately. Rather, they'll vanish in three years -- the length of time the previous owner legally has to pay the sum if there's a desire to reclaim the property.

"We're OK providing that benefit to the Affordable Housing (Corp.)," Village Administrator John Lobaito said. "We're not OK allowing that benefit to the former property owner."

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