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updated: 1/17/2011 11:24 PM

Funds to build OTB in Hoffman Estates close to approval

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Credit problems have delayed plans for a restaurant with an off-track betting parlor in Hoffman Estates, but on Monday one of the potential owners of the OTB said he's close to securing funding for the project.

Construction could start in March, said co-owner Parker Grabowski. Plans for the facility, called The Saddle Room, gained village approval in 2009, and initially the owner planned to open in February 2010.

Since then the restaurant's ownership group has seen changes and has struggled with securing a loan for the 10,000-square-foot project. Grabowski said he's received an oral commitment from his bank and he'll likely gain official approval on the loan early this year.

"We've had a relationship with this bank for about seven years, and everything seems like it's going to go smoothly, I just hope it does," Grabowski said while addressing the village board on Monday night.

Grabowski was in front of the board to once again ask for extensions on a series of special-use and zoning variations for the property at 5295 Prairie Stone Parkway. The board granted him a yearlong extension, much like it did in June 2010 when it extended the expiration date by six months. The extensions allow Grabowski to avoid going through the lengthy approval process once construction begins.

Grabowksi said he still holds the proper licensing for the OTB component of the project through the Illinois Racing Board. Nothing has changed in the aspect, as Melrose Park-based Inter-Track Partners would run the OTB as planned.

For the village, The Saddle Room is a major part of its vision for the Prairie Stone Business Park. With the Sears Centre as a bedrock, the OTB would continue the development of the village's entertainment district.

Grabowski's group also owns a restaurant in Minnesota and The Turf Room in North Aurora. The Minnesota restaurant has seen business increase by 26 percent and the North Aurora locale has seen a 40 percent jump in the last two years, Grabowski said.

"We're one of the few businesses that is actually turning a profit and doing very well in this economy," he said.

Inter-Track projected in 2009 that Hoffman Estates and Cook County could receive $150,000 to $200,000 per year in betting receipts from new OTB.

When approving the OTB, Hoffman Estates officials said Prairie Stone was the ideal area. Village officials nixed plans for betting parlor inside the Poplar Creek Bowl.

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