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Article updated: 5/19/2013 4:37 PM

Indoor skydiving coming to Rosemont

By Madhu Krishnamurthy

By next spring, visitors to Rosemont's restaurant and entertainment district will be able to satisfy more than just a craving for food and beverages, comic relief and shopping -- they can get their thrills by jumping off a nearly 70-foot-tall building.

The village board this week approved a special 2 percent amusement tax for iFLY Indoor Skydiving, which will be leasing property within MB Financial Park at Rosemont to build a 5,200-square-foot structure in the parking lot between Muvico Theater and Hofbräuhaus Chicago.

Rosemont Mayor Bradley Stephens said Friday the village board agreed to lower the village's 3 percent amusement tax because one-third of the business' customers are expected to be military personnel or students.

The business is expected to generate roughly $150,000 yearly for the village, which includes $100,000 for leasing the land and the amusement tax revenue. The village is considering a 10-year lease with an automatic 3 percent increase after five years, Stephens said.

"They are putting a substantial investment, several millions into the building," Stephens said.

The business recently opened a simulated skydiving facility in Austin, Texas, which is the prototype for the proposed Rosemont building. It is expected to attract a couple of hundred thousand visitors yearly, Stephens said.

Stephens said he doesn't plan on testing out the skydiving facility himself and would rather leave that to the thrillseekers.

"There's a big wind generator that goes 16 or so feet into the ground, a monstrous fan and a grate that goes on top of it," he said. "They give you a 10- to 15-minute tutorial on how everything works."

The turbine blows wind vertically to simulate the sky diving experience.

Stephens said he checked out an indoor skydiving facility in Orlando and thought it would make a cool addition to the entertainment district. "It's another attraction that brings folks there," he said.

The 200,000-square-foot district, situated just west of River Road and north of Balmoral Avenue fronting the northbound Tri-State Tollway, features the Irish Five Roses Pub, a 22-lane Kings Lanes, Lounge & Sports, Adobe Gila's Mexican Cantina, Toby Keith's "I Love This Bar & Grill," Zanies Comedy Night Club, Park Tavern, Hofbräuhaus Chicago, and "My Big Fat Greek Restaurant."

An outlet mall is set to open Aug. 1 just south of the development.

The village board is expected to approve zoning for the skydiving facility at its June meeting.

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