Construction could begin in the next 60 days on a $55 million minor league baseball stadium in Rosemont, village officials said.
Since announcing the plans at a State of the Village address last September, Mayor Brad Stephens has been working with investors of the proposed baseball franchise to secure the team's placement in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, a 12-team minor league based in Durham, North Carolina.
A presentation to owners of the other teams during a meeting last week in St. Paul, Minnesota, was "very well received," said Stephens, who attended with the Rosemont team's investors.
The league's owners would have to vote on whether to accept the new team -- a process that could begin next month after the village and the team's investors ink an agreement of their own.
That contract, still in negotiations, would call for the ownership group to lease the village-owned stadium for a number of months per year, though it would be the ballpark's majority tenant, Stephens said.
The agreement is expected to be voted on by the village board at its next meeting Sept. 14, the same day the team's owners are expected to introduce themselves to the local business community at this year's State of the Village luncheon.
Meanwhile, architects already are preparing drawings for the 6,300-seat venue, which would be built on 10 acres of village-owned land north of Balmoral Avenue and west of the Tri-State Tollway. The village board this week approved a $2.6 million contract with AECOM Services of Illinois to complete architectural design of the ballpark.
The one-level stadium is proposed to include skyboxes, party decks and club areas for corporate outings, in addition to concession stands on a wraparound concourse. It wouldn't be the biggest stadium in the league -- that distinction goes to the 7,210-seat CHS Field in St. Paul. But the new Rosemont park would be larger than its neighbor, the 2,000-seat Rosemont Stadium, home of the Chicago Bandits women's softball team. It opened in 2011.
The minor league stadium itself is projected to cost $35 million, while a four-level parking garage would be $20 million. The village would likely pay for construction by borrowing funds through a bond sale and by using proceeds from a tax increment financing district established last February.
Through the TIF, property taxes paid to local governments within the area have been frozen, and money collected above that level will go to a special fund controlled by the village to pay for things such as the stadium project.
The TIF boundaries also include 16 acres south of Balmoral planned as a mixed-use development to be called The Pearl. It will include a 5-story, 163-room boutique hotel, two restaurants, and a yet-to-be-named restaurant/entertainment venue.
A complete site plan is expected to be presented to the village board next month.
The Pearl and ballpark projects will be built on village land Stephens offered to the Chicago Cubs for free in 2013 in an attempt to lure the team to Rosemont as it was negotiating with the city of Chicago over renovations to Wrigley Field.
Construction on both Rosemont projects is targeted for completion in the spring or summer of 2018.