Jennifer Pritzker’s B&B opens at historic Evanston lakefront mansion

Tori Latham, Reporter

A new bed-and-breakfast held its grand opening ceremony Thursday with Evanston residents in attendance.

Stone Porch by the Lake, 300 Church St., is a luxury B&B housed in a restored 1889 mansion along Lake Michigan. The B&B is open to the public.

“Stone Porch by the Lake is sure to become a beloved destination for visitors of Northwestern University as well as those looking to explore the world-class entertainment and shopping options to be found in abundance both in Evanston and nearby downtown Chicago,” the owners said in a news release.

Local billionaire Jennifer Pritzker developed the inn and invited Evanston residents Jim and Carrie King to become co-owners. All three were present at the ceremony, along with Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and Evanston locals.

“It was a huge success,” Carrie King said. “Around 400 to 500 people showed up, and we’ve received such overwhelming support.”

Pritzker was previously seeking to open a boutique hotel at the Harley Clarke Mansion, 2603 Sheridan Road, but her proposal was denied by the city in 2013.

“I believe she was looking into Stone Porch concurrently or prior to the Harley Clarke deal,” said Mark Muenzer, the city’s director of community development. “It’s my understanding that she was going to pursue the bed-and-breakfast regardless of Harley Clarke.”

King said Stone Porch is aiming to add to the city’s architectural integrity through its renovation of the property.

“I am honored and privileged to be part of this magnificent restoration,” she said. “There are such incredible older homes in the area, and we are making it so that everyone can experience them.”

Stone Porch is the first legal B&B in Evanston, according to King. She said she found it unbelievable that one had never existed in the city before.

“The location is just perfect,” King said. “We’ve gotten great feedback, not just from residents but also from parents and alumni. For them, it’s an alternate lodging choice to the big hotels, and it’s a magnificent property.”

King said she was also excited for Stone Porch to add to the city’s revenue by sending its guests to local restaurants and shops. Muenzer reinforced King’s support of Evanston and said the inn would bring additional visitors into the city.

“It is a great mix of historical preservation and economic development,” Muenzer said. “It’s such a unique place to stay and will create a ripple effect into Evanston.”

The owners of Stone Porch are planning to open a sister bed-and-breakfast called Stone Terrace two doors down, King said. The property is currently under full restoration, and King said she hopes it will lead even more guests to appreciate the city’s buildings.

“As Jennifer said, ‘It’s not about freezing something in time,’” King said. “‘It’s about finding things from the past that are still relevant and being able to adapt them to the present so you can move them into the future.’”

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