Plans under way to clean up Mineola Hotel
Fox Lake officials said they want to meet with the owner of the Mineola Hotel and Lounge to discuss a cleanup of the largest wooden-framed building in Illinois.
Pete Jakstas, owner of the 127-year-old building at 91 Cora Ave., said he hasn't been contacted about a meeting, but had already planned a Mineola spruce-up.
Jakstas said he will spend the summer painting and repairing the walls and roof of the aging structure so he can sell it.
"I am well aware of what needs to be done on the Mineola," he said Friday. "But, the weather has been really bad this spring. The exterior of the building is not pretty by any means at this point, but only so much can be done under the current weather conditions."
If he does not find a buyer by the end of 2012, Jakstas said he will begin disassembling the structure on the shores of the Chain O' Lakes.
"If we don't sell it, then we will start gutting it and bringing it down," he said. "Hopefully, we will be able to sell it and the land. But, with the economy being what it is right now, no one wants to make a move."
The announcement of the intended meeting comes one day after the Mineola reopened to customers Thursday night after being condemned by the Fox Lake Building Department last week.
On April 14, Building Commissioner Frank Urbina shuttered and red-tagged the Mineola Lounge that operates in the basement, claiming the building was not structurally sound.
Urbina said he was worried the top two floors could collapse immediately, leaving the village legally liable if anyone is injured.
However, Jakstas hired structural engineer Harry E. Marshall of Northbrook to inspect the facility. Marshall said in a written report April 21 that the Mineola has some water damage, but the building has been reinforced and upgraded in the upper levels and did not show wear that would "indicate possible failure or imminent collapse."
Jakstas took that report to Urbina on Thursday, and the red tags were removed.
Mayor Ed Bender said he was happy the Mineola has reopened, but added there are numerous problems that must be addressed. They include cracked siding, holes in the roof, broken windows, and peeling paint.
"The village will be happy to work with (Jakstas) to get that structure back up to code," Bender said. "If he's reasonable, we can all sit down and work out a plan that is beneficial for all sides involved."
Jakstas said he has been trying to sell the Mineola, but has yet to find a buyer.
He admitted upkeep of the facility has become too much, and believes it may be time to start a slow demolition.
"If we don't sell it, we are going to start gutting the building and taking it down piece by piece," he said. "We'll start with the top floor, then work our way down to the next floor and so on. It's so huge that it will definitely take a long time to complete."
Jakstas said several developers have inquired about the property, but he isn't sure if any are potential buyers.
"We'll just have to wait and see how everything plays out," he said.