Image of Hotel Orrington, 1710 Orrington Ave.,, from Hiltonorrington.guestreservations.com

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Crain’s Chicago Business is reporting that the owners of the Hilton Orrington Hotel are being sued for allegedly failing to make mortgage payments on a mortgage debt that is now nearly $50 million.

The hotel, located at 1710 Orrington Ave., closed more than two months ago. With its grand ballroom, the hotel was a favorite for local charitable fundraisers; and its some 200 guest rooms, business center, fitness center, bar and adjacent restaurant made it a place for Northwestern University parents to stay when they came to town for special occasions.

But Northwestern’s Allen Business Center, the Hyatt House at 1515 Chicago Ave., and The Graduate Hotel – the transformed Homestead, 1625 Hinman Ave. – all provided competition. And the COVID-19 pandemic apparently eroded even more of the customer base.

The City of Evanston, working with Connections for the Homeless, provided temporary shelter at the hotel for some of its homeless residents.

The hotel was slated to re-open in late January, but it is not clear at this point when or if that will occur.

City of Evanston Economic Development Manager Paul Zalmezak said, “The Orrington is Evanston’s premier hotel. It has served our City for generations and we anticipate it will continue to do so under new ownership. 

“There is no understating the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the hospitality industry. In Evanston, Northwestern University’s remote and socially distanced learning environment, sporting event crowd restrictions, coupled with the cancellation of corporate events, conferences, and weddings has impacted the Orrington hardest. 

“The City expects there to be significant interest in the property, and that new ownership will be able to acquire it at market price, allowing for a quick post-COVID-19 recovery. We hope to have more information in the coming days.

“In the meantime, the City will do what we can to support Farmhouse restaurant, one of Evanston’s top grossing restaurants, which leases restaurant space in the hotel,” Mr. Zalmezak said.