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posted: 10/16/2013 5:47 PM

Rosemont to demo building, add Taco Bell

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  • Mitt Romney stopped in Pancakes Eggcetera in March 2012, where he met with Rosemont Mayor Bradley Stephens, right, and enthusiastic supporters.

    Mitt Romney stopped in Pancakes Eggcetera in March 2012, where he met with Rosemont Mayor Bradley Stephens, right, and enthusiastic supporters.
    Daily Herald File Photo


Rosemont will demolish a building on Higgins Road to make way for a new Taco Bell, officials said, forcing a popular restaurant to move out of town.

The owner of Pancakes Eggcetera -- the only remaining business in the building -- is disappointed and says he'll reopen in Schiller Park.

The village board approved a land lease agreement Wednesday with Taco Bell, which wants to open at 9463 W. Higgins Road, west of River Road. The village owns the building and the land.

Mayor Bradley Stephens said Taco Bell's local Realtor approached the village earlier this year about available locations for a new restaurant.

Taco Bell will pay the village $80,000 annually to lease the land from the village, plus a percentage if sales exceed $1.5 million a year.

"The building's tired," Stephens said. "It needs to come down."

Marty Ferraro, the owner of Pancakes Eggcetera, says village officials wanted him to relocate the restaurant to the village strip mall across Willow Creek Drive, but triple his $3,000 monthly rent.

"I'm the last of the Mohicans here," Ferraro said Wednesday. "Nobody's been in this location longer. I thought the way they treated me was kind of bad."

Ferraro said he wouldn't have been able to afford the higher rent, nor could he have footed most of the bill to build out a space in the nearby strip mall for his restaurant.

He says village officials originally intended to pay to outfit the new location, but later said they would pay only $200,000 of the estimated $650,000 cost.

Now Ferraro says the village is forcing him out of his lease a week early, and he's expecting to close on Oct. 27.

Ferraro also says Stephens has been a regular weekend customer, but stopped coming in and returning his calls since the squabble began.

"The mayor's done talking to me," Ferraro said.

Stephens said the village put out fair and attractive rent numbers for the adjoining strip mall.

"It only goes to show you what a substandard lease he apparently has," Stephens said. "We're trying to progress here and take a substandard building and tear it down and replace it with something where they're willing to pay the freight."

"I'm sorry Marty feels we're mistreating him, but the village has to look for the highest and best use of the land."

Stephens also says it was a "miscommunication on Marty's behalf" that the village would have built his new restaurant in the strip mall space.

Since Pancakes Eggcetera opened 10 years ago, it has hosted politicians, professional wrestlers and other celebrities as they passed through town.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney joined Stephens and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford on a campaign stop there in March 2012.

The building formerly housed Village Pizza, which relocated to the nearby strip mall, and a deli and sub shop, which has closed.

The second floor held apartments for village employees, Stephens said.

Ferraro says he plans to reopen his restaurant in Schiller Park, at a location still to be determined. An auction of the restaurant's equipment and furniture is set for Oct. 29.

After the restaurant leaves and the building is demolished, construction will begin on the new Taco Bell, which is expected to open in the late spring or early summer of 2014.

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