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Playboy Club Won't Be Coming To Near North Side Mansion After All

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The historic John DeKoven mansion on the Near North Side will not be the site of a new Chicago Playboy club after all.

Crain's Chicago Business reported Tuesday morning that the Playboy will be searching for another location for its planned new Chicago club. Fred Latsko, who owns the mansion at 1150 N. Dearborn St., told the newspaper that a lease was drawn up earlier this month, but he chose not to go forward with it.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Pat Cassidy reports


Latsko told Crain's that it was "not in our best interests" for Playboy to move into the building, because of the other restaurants on the block, and he thought "a lot of people didn't like the idea."

Playboy, through Boston-based real estate capital and advisory firm Tremont Realty Capital LLC, is now looking for a site on Walton Street near the site of the old Playboy Club, Crain's reported.

The mansion where the Playboy Club had hoped to open originally belonged to banker and Northern Trust company co-founder John DeKoven, the namesake of DeKoven Street on the Near West Side, where the Great Chicago Fire began and the Quinn Fire Academy now stands.

The house was completed in 1874, three years after the Great Chicago Fire, and the DeKovens held lavish dinner parties that made the society pages for the next 25 years, the blog Design Slinger recalled. DeKoven died in the home in 1898.

Nearly half a century later, the mansion was resurrected as a private dining room by society caterer Joseph H. Biggs, and opened to the general public as Biggs Restaurant in 1964, the blog said. Biggs remained in the mansion for nearly the next 40 years, before being supplanted by Il Mulino, a New York-based Italian restaurant, which now occupies the building.

As for the Chicago Playboy Club, it was opened by Hugh Hefner in 1960 in the old Colony Club building at 116 E. Walton St. Offering a membership to anyone who would purchase a key, the club featured young women in iconic bunny outfits, as well as jazz and vocal performances, the Chicago Bar Project recalls.

The Chicago Playboy Club closed in 1986, around the same time the other 39 Playboy clubs across the country.

Since 2006, new Playboy clubs have opened in Las Vegas, London, Macau and Cancun, with an attached hotel or casino, Crain's reported. But the Chicago location would stand alone.

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