Excerpts from After Chicago 1: Clinton J. Warren's Lexington Hotel
Lost Jewel of the Near South Side
Located in the Old Levee Vice District, the ten story steel frame cube filled the north east corner of Michigan and Cermak. As construction wrapped up in 1892 It wass now ready for the crush of visitors attending the Columbian Exposition. 370 guest rooms were available. The large hotel could also accommodate permanent residents.
Returning from exile in Cicero, Al Capone set up shop on the fifth floor from 1928 until his conviction in 1932. He preferred it for its fortress like strengths and amenities, like the gymnasium and ballroom. It eventually fell into low rent flophouse status, with lounges and blues rooms on the street level. By 1980 it was empty.
Landmark status was tossed its way in '85, but exorbitant rehab costs nixxed any development. Gerry River's (Geraldo Rivera), 'Al Capone's Vault' fiasco was the Lexington's lacklustre swansong. Before demolition in November 1995, It was being stripped of valuables (copper wire, tiles, etc…). If Saved the Lexington would've been the jewel of the now gentrified Near South Side. A new towering condo has risen from the dirt lot that sat for 10+ years.