Rosemont pursuing additional retail plans near its new mall

Rosemont is pushing ahead with the acquisition and demolition of buildings in a small industrial area, with an eye toward future retail development there.

The village has already or is in the process of buying and tearing down at least seven buildings south of Balmoral Avenue and west of Interstate 294.

The area is directly across the tollway from the Fashion Outlets of Chicago mall that opened in August, and it includes a portion of the space Rosemont Mayor Bradley Stephens offered the Chicago Cubs last April in an attempt to lure them to the village.

In total, Rosemont is looking to develop 10.26 acres of vacant land located north of Balmoral and 15.74 acres south of Balmoral.

Three buildings on the south side have already been purchased and demolished, and one is purchased and will be demolished after the tenant moves out. The village is now signing contracts for three more properties, of which it plans to take possession by January.

“There’s been a lot of conversations about the potential on those sites,” Stephens said. “There’s a lot of different retailers out there.”

Stephens offered the Cubs a total of 25 acres for a potential new stadium on both sides of Balmoral, which he says could have been “bored through” to ensure connectivity of the site.

Now village officials are looking to get some type of retail on those spaces. They’ve assembled a list of potential retailers and are making “cold calls,” but there’s “nobody that’s chasing us down,” Stephens said.

The mayor said he went on a recent “fact-finding mission” to the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, N.Y., in hopes of attracting some of those retail tenants to Rosemont.

“It’s got a tremendous lineup. It’s the No. 1 outlet project in the U.S.,” Stephens said. “We identified 65 potential tenants in that project that we’d like to have, whether it’s the expansion of the existing outlet mall some day or where we want to do something across the highway.”

The village board voted this week to approve a $51,285 contract with Omega Demolition Corp. for the teardown of a building at 5290 Pearl St., which is one of the properties in the industrial area south of Balmoral. The village previously purchased and demolished two buildings owned by Hoffman Brothers, an industrial sewing company.

Scott Hoffman, the company’s vice president, said his family’s business has been in Rosemont since 1967. For the last 10 years, Rosemont officials have been talking “off and on” about wanting to buy the buildings, Hoffman said.

“Don Stephens was talking to my dad,” Hoffman said, referring to the current mayor’s father, who was in the office from the town’s inception until his death.

Hoffman Brothers plans to relocate to Des Plaines, where it will bring 25 employees from the Rosemont location. The village of Rosemont is paying for the company’s moving expenses, Hoffman said.

Stephens said “Rosemont’s done” acquiring properties in the industrial area; the remaining two blocks in the area are located within Chicago and Schiller Park.

He said there’s always the chance that Rosemont could act as a developer and purchase those properties — all of which are owned by AMB O’Hare Center — but Rosemont would have to get zoning approvals from Chicago and Schiller Park building departments.

“Something generating sales tax — I think they’d be thrilled with it,” Stephens said.

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