Claude Gendreau
The founder/owner of La Banque is actually not a hotelier. He is a Veterinary Surgeon.

After graduating from the University of Montreal and completing post graduate training at the Ontario Veterinary College, he spent six-years as head of the small animal surgery service at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. He then moved to Chicago and opened a surgical center for small animals. He is, to this day, practicing orthopedic surgery on small animals.

His love of animals is not limited to house pets. He breeds, raises, and trains Standardbred horses on his farm in Lake County, Illinois. He inherited his love of animals from his father, a Veterinarian in the style of James Herriot who was practicing in the province of Quebec.

An environmentalist and long-time proponent of sustainable living, he wrote a book about the subject. "What You Must Do for Your Country" outlines his views on sound environmental practices. Ideally, he says "Communities should be self-sufficient. They should meet the many needs and wants of their people to reduce the need for traveling. Town centers need to be vibrant and the useful life of buildings needs to be extended."

When he became aware that a building that had been at the center of community life for 90 years was being vacated and facing an unknown future, he started to think. What function could that building assume to continue to play a central role in the community? During conversations with Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld and other community leaders, it came to light that a high-end hotel had the potential for doing just that. After all, there was no such facility anywhere near Homewood. Soon thereafter, he purchased the vacated building and the re-purposing process started. He likes to tell his friends that he has a double copy of the insanity gene in his DNA since he also rehabbed Ravisloe Country Club, another challenging restoration project. That course is now widely recognized as one of the best public courses in Illinois.

©  LaBanque Hotel  -  2034 Ridge Road  -  Homewood, IL 60430  -  708.798.6000  -