Maybe it will become a hot new restaurant for some big-name chef looking to move out of the city and close to the shore of Geneva Lake.
Maybe some couple will see it as a chance to get a lakefront home at a good price.
Or maybe someone will buy the Baker House, 327 Wrigley Drive, Lake Geneva, and keep the unique hotel running as-is.
The Baker House will go up for auction Friday, Nov. 30, at 3 p.m., with a nominal opening bid of $1.9 million.
Andrew Fritz, who purchased the property in 2010, said he would like to see Baker House continue on, in some fashion.
But Fritz, who also owns Maxwell Mansion, 421 Baker St., Lake Geneva, is eager to start the next chapter of his life.
He wants to be part of a hotel group that has a variety of properties.
“I feel as though I have the skill for developing hotels, to get them to operational status,” said Fritz. “Now, I just want to hand this off to somebody else.”
He sees himself as steward of Baker House, ready to deliver to the next person to continue the property’s legacy.
The house was built in 1885 as a summer home for Emily Baker, according to the Lake Geneva Walking Tour app created by the Lake Geneva Historical Preservation Committee.
After Baker died in 1894, the house was a residence for patients of the Lake Geneva Sanitarium.
Later, it became Lakeside Hotel.
In the 1940s, the name changed to St. Moritz Hotel.
Today, the Baker House has style, charm and elegance.
According to Williams & Williams Real Estate Auctions, the 13,682-square-foot house features $1 million in upgrades, including conversions to its five guestrooms and dining venues.
There are also five parlors, a wrap-around porch, two spa treatment rooms, a three-bedroom owner’s suite, a large front lawn with a fountain and perennial garden, 114 feet of lake frontage and a commercial pier.
Of the parlors, the Ringmaster’s Roost is 20-seat lounge with a full liquor license.
There is a 20-seat dining room, a library with custom mahogany-built bookshelves, a game room, and a music room, which seats 24.
Having the property restored in 2010, Fritz refers to the work he’s done on the property as a “reset.”
To do it, he created a backstory for his hotel.
“It’s your crazy aunt’s house at the lake,” said Fritz. “So, she has a little bit of everything — she’s not quite the cat lady — but she does have a lot of fun, eccentric things.”
Like the roulette wheel, the hodge-podge of furniture, old footballs, leather-bound books and various other items Fritz found after scouring thrift stores, flea markets and auctions.
From Wayne, Penn., he said the house in which he grew up was built in 1711.
“The walls were 3 feet thick, and it was really small,” he laughed.
Having promised guests on its website a “fantastic folly set in a bygone era,” an experience “as luxurious as it is mysterious,” the Baker House is now ready to change hands.
Fritz said everything is pretty much in place for someone else to take the reins.
There are 13 full-time employees on a staff which increases to around 24 during the busy season.
Earlier this year, he had both Baker and the Maxwell Mansion on the market in Chicago, but he “de-listed” them in June.
Fritz wants to focus on the sale of Baker at the moment.
He described some ideal scenarios for the future of the Baker House, such as the one about the chef looking to start a restaurant in the area.
He also said he could see someone buying it and making it a single-family residence, removing the parking and other commercial features, as it could be a cheaper way to grab a house on the lake.
One thing Fritz would regret is if someone bought the place to tear it down.
“Otherwise, I think the story here is great,” he said. “I think that it’s been reset.”
Public inspections of the Baker House will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays, Nov. 9 and 16.