A Chicago dining landmark is getting closer to finding new ownership—and a new concept. Maxim's: The Nancy Goldberg International Center has been on the city auction block since December, and bids were received through last month. Bidding closed March 25, leaving city officials to comb through them to find a new owner. Peter Strazzabosco, Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Housing and Economic Development, says there's no definite timetable for choosing the winning bid. He did, however, give clues to what the space in a historic landmark district might become.
Maxim's opened in 1963 as a replica of Maxim's in Paris, one of the most famous restaurants in the world. It became a celebrity haven akin to (and a neighbor of) the Pump Room hosting guests like Aubrey Hepburn and Woody Allen. The Goldberg family donated the space to the city in 2000, who turned it into a private space used for weddings and other gala events.
When the city made the decision to sell, Geoff Goldberg, son of the original owners, wasn't happy. He was worried about the historic French decor being replaced, and the space becoming "something more utilitarian, like a gym."
Strazzabosco says he isn't at liberty to discuss too much about the bidders. But what might it become? "The space, in theory, could be used for whatever zoning allows," he said, while also adding "virtually all of the interest is from restaurateurs and club owners."
Bidders must be crawling over themselves to secure the space, and it seems it will become something in the restaurant, bar, or nightclub industry. Whether that's something that honors the history and keeps it intact, however, is yet to be seen.
· Maxim's: The Nancy Goldberg International Center [City of Chicago Site]