Metropolis Ballroom, which hosts dozens of weddings and special events each year in downtown Arlington Heights, is looking to expand.
Owner Tom Manetti presented his plan during an Arlington Heights village board meeting this week as part of the board's early review process. Early review allows trustees to give uncommitted feedback on a plan before developers spend the time and money to go through the formal application process.
His proposal would expand the ballroom and terrace to increase capacity by about 100 people. The expansion would add about 1,600 square feet of floor space to the ballroom and 270 square feet to the outdoor terrace, which would allow the business to host larger events than its seated reception capacity, which is now capped at 230.
With the closing of the Wellington and the Sheraton hotel, as well as the economic recovery, Manetti said there's interest in larger weddings and events, but he's had to turn some of that business away.
"We need this expansion to be competitive in the market today," Manetti said.
Trustees were generally supportive of the idea but had concerns about the logistics of the second-floor ballroom's expansion, as it would cantilever over an existing public loading dock and walkway. There also were concerns about how maintenance would be done on the nearby Vail garage, since Metropolis Ballroom's exterior wall would now be about 4 feet from the garage.
Manetti said the expansion originally was planned to leave only six inches of clearance between the garage and the ballroom, but consultants who have worked Arlington Heights' parking garages said 4 feet was the minimum they needed to be able to do repairs.
Trustees also raised issues with lighting under the ballroom expansion plan, since it would create a darker alley, how deliveries would be accommodated in the loading dock and how to make sure the area was still safe in case of fires or floods.
"There's a lot that needs to be worked out, but the fact is that you are a thriving business and we want you to continue to thrive," said Trustee Robin LaBedz.
Village President Tom Hayes said he hopes to see the details worked out during the plan commission process.
"I think this would be a great addition for your business, but for the community as well," Hayes said.