The owner of Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale says the property's hotel will be converted into a DoubleTree By Hilton and its shuttered golf course could be transformed into a neighborhood with hundreds of houses for empty nesters.
First ILR LLC, which owns the 223-acre property along Schick Road, permanently closed its roughly 190-acre golf course and a conference center late last year as part of a plan to save and improve the hotel.
On Friday, Indian Lakes officials announced the hotel will become a full-service DoubleTree. They said a comprehensive $5.1 million renovation of the building will begin soon and be completed by late summer.
The hotel will remain open during the project, which includes eliminating 35 rooms to create larger suites and meeting space.
Bob Habeeb, CEO and president of First Hospitality Group Inc., the management company for the property, said in a statement the agreement to bring DoubleTree By Hilton to Bloomingdale "is a testament to the difficult, but necessary decisions we've made to make the hotel relevant to today and tomorrow's traveler."
To preserve the hotel, officials said the 27-hole golf course and a 36,000-square-foot conference center had to close. The golf course was losing nearly $1 million a year, they said.
Meanwhile, the hotel generates about $400,000 in annual tax revenue for the village.
"Our first priority was to save the hotel, its 110 jobs and tax revenue for the village," Habeeb said. "Refocusing the property from a sprawling golf resort to a DoubleTree focused on the local Bloomingdale market ensures the hotel can continue as a viable business."
Indian Lakes representatives in the coming months also will submit a plan to the village for redevelopment of the former golf course land.
The proposal is to transform the property into a "resort-at-home" neighborhood for residents 55 and older that would be called "Four Seasons at Indian Lakes."
News of the golf course's closure last year prompted some to oppose rezoning the land for residential development.
Hotel officials have created a website with information about the plan at newindianlakes.com.
Officials say they will meet with neighbors before submitting a formal zoning petition to the village. Residents can submit comments and questions through the website.
Under the current plan, the proposed neighborhood would feature 536 ranch-style houses and a centrally located clubhouse. The clubhouse would feature a pool deck and patio for outdoor social recreation, as well as courts for tennis, bocce ball and pickle ball, officials said.
Extensive landscaping and walking trails are planned along the perimeter of the property "to create a tranquil setting and provide a buffer" between the proposed houses and existing homes.
Because Four Seasons at Indian Lakes would be age-restricted for residents 55 and older, officials said, local school districts would receive extra property tax revenue but incur no new costs.
"When it became necessary to close the golf course at Indian Lakes, we committed to finding a new use that would retain property value, preserve the character of the neighborhood and provide the community with substantial economic benefit," said Stephen Schwartz, manager of First ILR.
He said the proposed resort-at-home neighborhood "is much more compatible for Bloomingdale than what has happened with other courses across the country."
Officials say the proposed redevelopment is expected to create more than $225 million in new property value and generate about $4.6 million in new annual tax revenue for school districts and other local governments.