Tawani Enterprises, Inc., led by Colonel J. N. Pritzker, may purchase the  Harley Clark Mansion from the City for private development. The mansion has been home to the Evanston Art Center for the past 40 years.

As recently as late this summer, City Council faced the possibility of four or five entities bidding for the right to purchase or long-term lease the Harley Clarke Mansion at Lighthouse Park. As of Dec. 3, the list had been whittled down to one as only one bidder, led by Colonel J. N. Pritzker, submitted a formal bid.

Terms of the bid have not been released and will not be released any time soon. Council itself has not seen the proposal, which, Assistant City Manager Joe McRae said, is “a fairly big proposal.”

The proposal will remain with Council, which will review it in executive session, Mr. McRae said.

City business must be conducted in an open meeting, unless one of the exceptions specified under the Open Meetings Act applies. There is a limited exception applicable to “the setting of a price for sale or lease of property owned by a public body.”  

In August, the Human Service committee voted to authorize City Staff to send out formal requests for proposal to four bidders: Carrie King, who proposed buying the building for use as an event center, hotel or bed and breakfast; Tom Omundson (TOCO, LLC), who proposed buying the structure and renovating it as a first class boutique hotel; Sarah Harding (Beacon Academy) who proposed either leasing or purchasing the property for use as a school; and Colonel Pritzker’s Tawani Enterprises Inc.

Only Tawani responded with a proposal. TOCO and Beacon bowed out for financial reasons. King did not respond at all.