Rosemont enacts 7th TIF district at Mannheim and Higgins

Rosemont has created its seventh tax increment financing district with an eye toward redevelopment of vacant land near Mannheim and Higgins roads, though no solid proposals have yet come forward, village officials said.

The TIF district includes the site of a former par 3 golf course behind the existing Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Chicago O'Hare on the northwest corner of Mannheim and Higgins.

Mayor Brad Stephens said he's only had one meeting with a company that's shown interest in developing the vacant land, but no official plans came from that meeting.

"It's a big piece of property that is wide open, and hopefully we'll be able to lure a developer," Stephens said.

He said he is open to a number of uses for the property, including retail and office buildings.

Discussions on creating the TIF began in early 2013, and in March of that year, a set of ordinances that would have set up the TIF first appeared on the village board's agenda. But the board tabled those ordinances at each of its next 10 monthly board meetings, delaying action until its meeting this past Wednesday.

Stephens had previously said the village was looking for a development proposal before officially enacting the TIF. And though Illinois law is unclear about how long proposed TIF ordinances can be tabled, February felt like the right time to enact them, he said.

"We felt a year was a comfort zone," he said.

Property taxes paid to local governments by property owners within the TIF district will be frozen at their current levels for as many as 23 years. Taxes above that level collected within the area will go into a special fund controlled by the village, and that money is to be funneled back into public and private improvements.

The TIF district encompasses not only the hotel and former golf course, but also Shoeless Joes Ale House & Grille, Pine Grove Restaurant, Allstate Arena, and a small industrial area north of the stadium on Barry and Lyndon avenues.

The district notably also includes the former Wyndham O'Hare Hotel, at 6810 N. Mannheim Road, which closed January 1, 2010, in the midst of a struggling hospitality market. Glenview-based U.S. Asia Investment Group, headed by Eric Chang, purchased the 466-room hotel in August 2012.

Stephens said Chang's group has proposed converting the existing building into two separate hotels. During a conversation with village officials late last year, the ownership indicated they wanted to start construction last Jan. 1.

"Other than that, they've had some mundane conversations with the building department," Stephens said.

The mayor said he wouldn't consider giving the hotel's owners TIF money until the building reopens.

"(It's) pay as you go instead of lump sum," Stephens said. "We want something open."

Chang couldn't be reached for comment.

In other TIF news, the board this week agreed to use funds from the sixth TIF to improve the appearance of an existing Mobil station on the southwest corner of Higgins and River roads.

Stephens said the owner, manager and franchisee of the gas station came to the village to request assistance from the TIF.

"We're going to help them get that place look consistent with the rest of the area," Stephens said. "It's looking rundown."

  The former Wyndham O'Hare Hotel at 6810 N. Mannheim Road in Rosemont has been closed since Jan. 1, 2010. It is included in the boundaries of a new tax increment financing district approved by the village board this week. Christopher Placek/
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