La Salle obtains search warrant for the Kaskaskia hotel

Safety concerns lead city to acquire a warrant, take proactive measure

The city of La Salle acquired a search warrant for the former Kaskaskia hotel because of safety concerns involving the structural integrity of its building.

The city of La Salle acquired a search warrant for the former Kaskaskia hotel because of safety concerns.

Concerns include busted windows, animals in the vacant building and cracks in the building’s façade, according to a news release from the city of La Salle. Officials want to determine the condition of the building, and whether its structure, which takes up most of a city block, poses a threat to collapse. The city cited no other specific deficiencies.

The warrant is a proactive measure to make sure the building does not pose a safety threat to the community, said Building Inspector Andy Bacidore in the press release.

The city contacted CL Real Estate Development, the building owners, but said they received no response about a date to assess the property. Because the concerns had been acknowledged by CL and had not been addressed, the city obtained a warrant. A third-party structural engineer was hired to work with Bacidore and a member of the fire department to determine the state of the building.

CL said in a press release on Tuesday the company addressed recent requests from the La Salle related to the hotel property and they will be joining the city in its search and walk through of the building 9 a.m. Thursday, June 16.

“The City approached us with requests to address broken glass and other safety issues,” CL President Nathan Watson said in the press release. “For the past couple of months our Property Manager has worked closely with the City of LaSalle inspector to address those issues; most of them are completed and those remaining will be wrapped up very shortly.”

CL also hired a third-party engineering firm to conduct a structural survey of the hotel, according to the press release.

“This is crucial information we need in preparation of a full renovation of the hotel,” Watson said. “We will be happy to share the results of that survey with the City of LaSalle when it is completed.”

The Kaskaskia is undergoing a $30 million project to restore the six-story, historic hotel in downtown La Salle. CL plans to renovate and restore the many rooms for upscale living spaces, the ballroom, Wedgewood Room, Side Bar and Second Street retail uses, according to a press release from CL.

CL President Nathan Watson said Monday the project’s slow progression is because of construction issues and the complications that come with restoring an old building. Plans were set to be put in motion in June of 2020, but because of the pandemic people stopped investing in hospitality projects and the Kaskaskia renovation was put on hold.

Now, CL has a new update regarding the progress of the Kaskaskia. The company said it is committed to restoring the building and looking forward to the project’s completion in the “not too distant future.” CL also said the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office announced the Kaskaskia project was awarded $675,000 in state historic tax credits, which will help fund the restoration.

The next steps in the hotel renovation are to replace the storefronts on the retail spaces along Second Street, followed by updates and restoration on the Marquette Street façade, according to CL. More updates about the renovation plan are expected to come out within the upcoming months.

According to the city of La Salle, there have been years of inactivity and lack of renovation at the property since the project began the planning stage in 2004. As time went on, lack of development of the project raised concerns about the physical state of the building.

The city said it offered incentives to encourage progress, including a redevelopment agreement that expired in December 2020. According to the city’s press release, this agreement cost the city and its taxpayers money and manpower.

While city officials said they are committed to encouraging economic development in La Salle with projects, such as the Kaskaskia hotel, their main focus is ensuring community safety.

The city has had an incident of a building collapse recently. In July 2021, a vacant tavern on the northeast corner of First and Tonti streets abruptly collapsed.

CL communities manager Gianna Green said they continue to remain committed to the safety of the community and will continue to work closely with the city of La Salle on the project.

“As for the goings-on with the city, it was really unfortunate, as we have been working with the City, addressing their concerns regarding the Kaskaskia,” Green said in an email.

Watson told the NewsTribune on Monday he will appear before the La Salle City Council at the next meeting 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 27, at La Salle City Hall, 745 Second St. He plans to explain a new approach to the renovations and ask the council for feedback.