Closed Rolling Meadows hotel fined thousands for code violations after workers were staying there

The owner of a closed Rolling Meadows hotel faces thousands of dollars in fines for dozens of city code violations that have included rooms and offices being used without occupancy permits, a sprinkler system that was disabled and a leaking roof not repaired.

Though the Holiday Inn at 3405 Algonquin Road is undergoing renovations as part of a $9 million redevelopment project, employees and construction workers are still inside, where a number of hazards have been discovered, city officials said.

The city has cited property owner Sam Patel of Woodfield Hotels LLC for 43 violations since January, racking up fines and court costs of at least $20,000, according to city records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Patel did not attend an adjudication hearing Thursday at city hall, where a hearing officer levied the latest set of fines worth $6,650 from citations issued during building inspections in April.

His attorney, Keith Groebe, said by phone later Thursday that Patel inadvertently missed the proceedings and another attorney hired to represent him got caught up at another hearing. But Patel plans to address any fines and outstanding violations with city officials as soon as possible, Groebe said.

It was Patel's understanding, from his contractor, that the code violations were resolved, Groebe said.

The latest fines entered Thursday include those worth $750 each for a leaking roof in multiple locations, using offices without a certificate of occupancy, and having extension cords throughout the ceiling.

"It's not being used as a hotel at this particular moment, but it is filled with employees and workers, so it is a fire hazard," said Peter Pacione, the city's prosecutor for code violations.

The city agreed to $100 fines for items that have been fixed since the original inspection, which included a disabled fire alarm and sprinkler system, and emergency lighting that wasn't functioning.

The first citations against the hotel were issued Jan. 30, when inspectors found seven rooms were being temporarily occupied by construction workers. A full-size refrigerator was in one room, and a propane cooking device and electrical hot plate in another, records show.

City building inspectors and fire prevention bureau staff members have since returned to the site for follow-up inspections, while police officers also conduct checks of the premises.

Redevelopment plans call for the existing nine-story, 119-room Holiday Inn to be converted to an Aloft hotel, while an attached two-story, 170-room portion centered around a "Holidome" will be broken off and converted into an assisted living/memory care facility.

Patel on Thursday reviewed the preliminary designs for the Aloft with operator Marriott, the hotelier with which he has inked a 20-year license, Groebe said. He expects to secure financing for the project soon, Groebe said.

The 5-story, 135-room Holiday Inn Express in the rear of the property has remained open during renovations into the hotel chain's Formula Blue Design concept. That project is almost complete, Groebe said. The assisted living project would be completed last as part of the phased redevelopment.

The project was announced two years ago as a way to increase occupancies at the aging hotels.

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  The shuttered nine-story, 119-room Holiday Inn tower in Rolling Meadows is proposed to be converted to an Aloft hotel, but the owner has faced building code violations during the ongoing renovation project. Christopher Placek/
  A Rolling Meadows building permit at the entrance to the closed Holiday Inn on Algonquin Road shows that work is underway to correct city code violations. Christopher Placek/
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