DIXON – The historic building that welcomed a handful of presidents through its doors was recently purchased for $1.4 million and will remain affordable housing for seniors.
Chicago-based Vijulima LLC bought Nachusa House from MZB Inc. and adds it to the list of several other affordable housing units the company owns.
Nachusa House was built as a hotel in 1853 at 215 S. Galena Ave. about 16 years after founder John Dixon and a group of citizens applied for a grant to bring it to town.
It was a stop along the stagecoarch route from Chicago to Galena and Peoria, and it featured visits from former Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt, along with other notable guests throughout the years.
The hotel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, closed down in 1988 and was nearly demolished after falling into disrepair.
The Illinois Housing Development Authority and a Chicago developer restored the hotel 20 years ago in a $3.2 million project paid in part by the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program to convert the facility into affordable apartments for the elderly.
The city and Nachusa House owner MZB Inc. entered into a development agreement at that time where the city agreed to loan $300,000 to the company for a junior mortgage on the property and its improvements.
That agreement had MZB owing the city the $300,000 in 2047 at no interest, but the City Council accepted $52,500 in March so it could be sold to Vijulima, owned by Gabor Zsolnay.
Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said it was structured as a loan that could be walked away from, and the $1.4 million sale, filed last week, keeps the historic landmark running and earning revenue.
Property taxes from the property go into the city's TIF district.