Star Lite Motel Being Demolished, Fire Still Under Investigation

By Benjamin Cox on February 7, 2024 at 2:43pm

File photo of destruction left by a fire that occurred at the Star Lite Motel on July 24, 2023. [Photo: Jeremy Coumbes]

A fire that destroyed a classic motel in Jacksonville this past summer remains under investigation as the building is being demolished.

The Journal Courier reports that the Star Lite Motel will be completely demolished by the end of the week. The motel, built sometime in the mid to late 1960s and a former part of the Best Western chain, burned under suspicious circumstances during the early morning hours of July 24th. The northeast corner buildings on the property collapsed during the fire and caused over $200,000 in damages to the vacant motel.

According to the Journal Courier report, members of the demolition crew reported having to move people out of the closed motel as they’ve torn down the remaining three wings of the property in the 1900 block of West Morton Avenue.

Bob Patel, who has owned the property since 2000, has told City of Jacksonville officials that he would like to build a hotel at the site. Patel currently owns the Sleep Inn in South Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Police officials say that an investigation remains open and active in conjunction with the Illinois State Fire Marshall’s Office. If you have any information, please call Jacksonville Police Investigations at 217-479-4630 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 217-243-7300.