Hotel, parking garage among possibilities for Mannheim-Higgins property in Des Plaines

  • The site of a now-shuttered rental car agency in Des Plaines is where a mix of redevelopment plans, including hotels, restaurants and gas stations have been proposed. The existing buildings on site are expected to be demolished soon.

      The site of a now-shuttered rental car agency in Des Plaines is where a mix of redevelopment plans, including hotels, restaurants and gas stations have been proposed. The existing buildings on site are expected to be demolished soon. Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer, July 2014

 
 
Posted4/18/2015 7:43 AM

Hotels, restaurants, retail, parking garages and gas stations are among the possibilities for long-dormant land in Des Plaines near O'Hare International Airport.

Since 2010 the city has been trying to develop 4.4 acres it owns at the northeast corner of Mannheim and Higgins roads, but the economy and other factors scuttled all prospects.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

However, this week city officials began to examine plans from four firms that responded to a request for proposals to develop the land, on which a dilapidated former rental car agency building and garages sit.

The Jaffe Companies, a developer of shopping centers and mixed-use projects, has proposed a $500,000 purchase of the land; Green Courte Partners LLC, which manages parking garages, proposed $921,000; Pearlshire Capital Group, a hotel owner, for $1 million; and RSMY Fuels LLC for $2 million.

The exact proposals and blueprints haven't been publicly revealed. The city's tax increment financing consultant, Kane, McKenna and Associates, will make a financial analysis of each plan to find out what they would mean to the city's bottom line.

"They're doing the number crunching because the sales price is the easy one. The difference is what's going to be built there, under what conditions and what tax revenue will we get?" said George Sakas, Des Plaines' director of community and economic development. "We want to maximize our revenue in the long haul. It's more than just what the check looks like at the closing table."

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The city council will ultimately decide who to sell to. So far, aldermen haven't seen any of the proposals.

Alderman Mark Walsten, whose 6th Ward includes the land at 2985 Mannheim Road, said he prefers hotels or gas stations there, since "that's where we're going to get the biggest money back."

"I'm optimistic we're going to do something," Walsten said. "We're not going to let it sit empty."

On Monday, the city council is expected to consider a $26,100 contract to demolish three vacant structures on site -- the car rental building and two garages -- which take up 90,300 square feet.

A proposal to build a seven-story parking garage, nine-story hotel and 4,000-square-foot fast food restaurant on the property fell through in 2012 after the developer backed out, citing high Cook County property taxes. An earlier proposal to build two Hyatt hotels, restaurants and shops was withdrawn in 2010.

The city borrowed $10.4 million to buy the land -- formerly home to Ace car rental and a TraveLodge -- and for other redevelopment costs.

Just east of the land is 3.7 acres owned by the Rosemont Park District. Officials there previously indicated they may sell it if Des Plaines finds a developer -- in hopes of putting together one larger development.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

North of the Des Plaines-owned land is another vacant parcel -- this one, 4 acres -- owned by MB Financial Bank. An earlier proposal to build two Marriott hotels there fell through in 2010.

All of the properties are located within new Des Plaines TIF District 7, recently drawn out of TIF 6 by the city in an effort to spur redevelopment.

"Five years ago folks were throwing (proposals) up against the wall and seeing what stuck," Sakas said. "I'm confident one of these (today) will be selected, built and become profitable, and this whole ongoing multiyear saga will finally come to a close."

Sakas said it's possible one of the developers could be chosen by fall.

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