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After Nearly 4 Years On The Market, Mineola Hotel Still Seeking Buyer

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A north suburban resort once frequented by Al Capone has not yet found a buyer, after nearly four years of efforts to sell the 130-year-old building, and that has preservationists concerned about the historic hotel's fate.

WBBM Newsradio's John Waelti reports the Mineola Lounge and Marina, located on Fox Lake, has been a feature in the Chain O'Lakes area since 1884.

The resort is the largest wood-frame building in Illinois, but 3 ½ years after he put it on the market, owner Pete Jakstas said he still can't find a buyer.

"The economy has just been so slow, that there's not much going on," he said.

Jakstas claimed he wouldn't have to try to sell the hotel in the first place if the village of Fox Lake hadn't forced him to close shop, calling the building unsafe.

"I've got structural engineers that say different. The village spent over $50,000 of taxpayer dollars to get my licenses and to close me after 69 years of being in business," he said.

Though Jakstas acknowledges the building needs significant repairs, he has been hoping a buyer would emerge to restore it to its former glory, when it was known as the "Grand Lady of the Lakes."

Last year, Landmarks Illinois listed the Mineola as one of the 10 most endangered historic sites in Illinois.

On its website, Landmarks Illinois said a community group, The Mineola Preservation Project, has been raising money to help make minor repairs until a developer can be found to buy and renovate the resort.

It was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

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