Rosemont may get a baseball team after all, on land once offered to the Chicago Cubs for free.
Under plans revealed Tuesday by Mayor Brad Stephens, a still-to-be-named minor league baseball team would play at a proposed 7,000-seat stadium west of the Tri-State Tollway and north of Balmoral Road -- currently a 10-acre village-owned vacant site that Stephens included in a pitch to the Cubs in 2013.
Stephens said he's talked with someone who is applying for a new franchise within the American Association of Independent Baseball, a 13-team minor league based in Durham, North Carolina. The closest team in that league is the Gary SouthShore RailCats.
The village would fund the estimated $50 million to $60 million cost of the stadium, which would take a year to build and be ready for the first pitch in the summer of 2018, Stephens said.
"We haven't given up on baseball," Stephens said during his annual State of the Village address Tuesday afternoon, attended by local business and community leaders at the Hilton Rosemont/Chicago O'Hare Hotel.
The facility would be one of three venues in a village sports campus. It's proposed to be built directly south of the 2,000-seat Rosemont Stadium, home of the Chicago Bandits women's softball team. And next to that is the Rosemont Dome, a 140,000-square-foot indoor baseball and softball facility where crews are now putting up a new roof, after the old one was ripped off in a storm last month.
Stephens said he believes there's a good opportunity to bring minor league baseball to Rosemont, since there's been record-setting attendance figures for the nearby Schaumburg Boomers and Kane County Cougars, who play in other minor leagues.
The site is not only near other Rosemont sports venues, but it's directly across the tollway from the village's 200,000-square-foot entertainment district.
"We pride ourselves on entertainment in the village," Stephens said. "This could be something pretty cool."
The mayor added that the proposed team's owner is "all about affordable family fun."
The commissioner of the American Association of Independent Baseball has already visited Rosemont, along with the owner of another franchise who is part of the league's ownership committee, Stephens said.
Village officials already have a preliminary site plan developed by Minneapolis-based Snow Kreilich Architects, which designed a new $63 million minor league baseball stadium in St. Paul.
It's possible the Rosemont field could be configured for use for lacrosse and soccer, Stephens said.
A parking deck with 1,500 spots is also planned.
Stephens offered a total of 25 acres of village land to the Cubs for free in March 2013, as the Cubs were bogged down in negotiating with the city of Chicago over renovations to Wrigley Field.
Those renovations now are well underway, and Rosemont has moved forward in recent weeks with redevelopment plans for the land.
The 16 acres of land south of Balmoral is the site of a proposed mixed-use development to be named The Pearl, which would include Buddy V's Ristorante, a 150-room boutique hotel and an office headquarters building.
The mayor also said Tuesday a portion of the site is being reserved for a possible 2,200-seat music and stage show venue that would be built if the Rosemont Theatre is demolished to make way for an expansion of the Fashion Outlets of Chicago mall. Stephens told the Daily Herald in May that he'd consider demolishing the 20-year-old, 4,200-seat theater if mall owner Macerich decides to add on.