Essex Realty Group's website, the former Norman Hotel, at 1325 West Wilson (where Fontana Grill and the former Cupcake Gallery are located), has been sold.
As we posted last year, infamous owner John Klise and Circle Management have been in and out of Housing Court on this and other properties. Eventually, 1325 Wilson went into foreclosure and up for sale.
Klise and Circle proved to be such negligent landords that former 48th Ward alderman Mary Ann Smith worked with the Chicago Department of Housing to cut off Klise-owned properties from receiving Low Income Housing Tax Fund credits in her ward, essentially putting him out of business there. (The funds were reallocated to "responsible landlords.")
The building has a storied history: It was designed by noted architect Albert S. Hecht, and construction began in 1928. In the early 1990s, it became the original site of Inspiration Cafe. It was also Peter Holsten's first foray into low-income housing ownership, shortly after Helen Shiller became alderman of the 46th Ward.
We hope the new owner has deep pockets and can bring the building back to respectability, as well as bringing in good management practices. It deserves better than it's gotten over the years.