Mayor: More development, changes coming to Rosemont

Cranes are in the air and shovels are in the ground in Rosemont.

The tiny Northwest suburb, home to only 4,200 residents, has become a business and entertainment hub over the past few years with the addition of a new fashion outlet mall, entertainment district and softball park.

And there's more to come, as noted last week by Mayor Brad Stephens in his annual state of the village address.

Here's a look at projects in progress and other topics Stephens discussed Thursday during his speech to business leaders at a luncheon of the Rosemont Chamber of Commerce.

Higgins and River

The intersection of Higgins and River roads is one key spot of burgeoning development. The village-owned stone waterfall, a popular destination for wedding photos, has been out of commission this summer as crews complete a $1.1 million renovation. It includes installation of more realistic-looking rocks, changing the elevations of the rocks, and creating a more contained water flow.

Stephens said the new fountain should be complete by mid-to-late summer next year.

Across the street, construction continues on a new 155-room Hampton Suites hotel, a 150,000-square-foot, five-story office building to house the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and a 600-space parking garage. The office building is expected to be complete by December, and the hotel is expected to open by October 2015, the mayor said.

On the southwest corner of the intersection, Stephens said village officials will be working with the Mobil gas station owners to remove the service bays and potentially put in a full-service mini market in an effort to spruce up the appearance of the station.

Down the block, a new Taco Bell will be built on village-owned land where a building that housed apartments and first-floor businesses was demolished. Crews removed an old, empty fuel tank from the site and are now trying to rectify some minor soil issues, Stephens said.

"I am serious - one of the most frequently asked questions (is), 'When are we going to get chalupas?'" he said. "I'm hoping within 120 days we're going to be eating double-decker tacos."

Next door sits a strip mall the village is selling for $3.4 million to Ala Carte Entertainment, which plans to open a Moretti's restaurant on the west side of the property by next summer.

Other developments

The former Wyndham O'Hare Hotel at 6810 N. Mannheim Road is being renovated and converted into two separate hotels, including a 200-room Hyatt Place. La Quinta officials said in July they planned to open a 200-room hotel, though Stephens said plans haven't been submitted for that hotel.

Demolition of some of the existing structure is expected to begin next week, with at least one of the hotels ready to open by July 2015, the mayor said.

The village is planning to develop 26 acres of land west of the Tri-State Tollway on the north and south sides of Balmoral Avenue with retail and office uses, and perhaps a restaurant, Stephens said.

The development would sit directly across I-294 from the Fashion Outlets of Chicago and the MB Financial Park entertainment district.

The mayor pitched the land to the Chicago Cubs in March 2013 in an attempt to lure the team to Rosemont while it was negotiating with the city of Chicago over renovations to Wrigley Field.

The village purchased and demolished about a dozen buildings in the former light industrial area to make way for potential new development.

"We've been working and trying to lay that out the best that we can. The village is more than likely going to enter into a public-private partnership and develop that property," Stephens said. "Today with the inquiries we've received from potential tenants to us, we could probably fill twice as much land as we have, so we have to vet all those folks."

The village's sales tax revenues have increased by $3.1 million over last year's numbers - a 92 percent hike - thanks to the opening of the Fashion Outlets, Stephens said.

Revenues at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center are up $4 million.

After wrapping up the summer concert series, MB Financial Park is getting ready for the fall and winter.

A new haunted house operator has been hired to produce "Disturbia: Screams in the Park," kicking off next month.

After Thanksgiving, the park will be turned into "Frozemont," the mayor said, with ice skating, expanded hockey programming, and a temporary 34-foot-high snow hill for sledding and tubing.


The village launched the "It's All Here" advertising/branding campaign in the spring that includes banners at bus stops and on top of cabs, and commercials on radio and TV. So far, the village has spent at least $500,000 on the effort, partially funded by state tourism grants.

"We're seeing it's paying off for us. A lot of people didn't really know about what was going on here.

"I don't know what rock they're living under," Stephens told the chamber crowd. "There's a lot of activity going on here and we're proud of that."

Chicago Wolves staying in Rosemont for at least five more years

A photo rendering shows proposed renovations to the shuttered Wyndham O'Hare Hotel in Rosemont.
Brad Stephens
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