Des Plaines wants to tear down building near 1st McDonald's; owners push back
Des Plaines officials are trying to condemn and demolish a dilapidated motel next to the site of the original McDonald's, but the property owners are pushing back because they want to try to sell it.
Both sides say ongoing legal proceedings could take years to resolve, leaving the shuttered Polo Inn at 374 Lee St. boarded up and fenced in.
"The city is looking at condemning the property because it's uninhabitable and hundreds of thousands of dollars that it would take for it to be a residential place again -- I do not think the owner would be in a position to invest that type of money," said Alderman Patti Haugeberg, whose 1st Ward includes the two-story, 9,000-square-foot brick motel building.
The motel has been closed since April 2013, when floods left parts of it under water and virtually beyond repair. City inspectors have cited a number of building and health code violations since then.
City Manager Mike Bartholomew said there were discussions to get the motel's ownership group, Calumet City-based M & M Property Group, to let the city demolish the building, then place a lien against the property to recover the expense. But discussions broke down, leading to the city's court action.
The property is in foreclosure, and likely to go to a trust, Bartholomew said.
He predicts it could take several years before the dispute is resolved.
Val Petkov, a Realtor who was marketing the property until it was recently taken off the market, shared the view that it could take years to resolve the dispute in court. But he's hopeful his clients and the city could settle out of court by the end of the year.
He said the owners still want to sell the building, or if it is demolished, at least sell the land.
"My clients are sort of feeling this is their property and the city doesn't have the right to come in and take something," Petkov said. "It's not essentially harming anyone at this point."
Petkov said the city hasn't taken any steps to rectify flooding concerns with the property.
Haugeberg said the property owners were under the misconception that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was going to give them money to fix flooding problems.
The property was listed for sale in April 2014 for $1.125 million. At the time, Petkov told the Daily Herald officials from several banks were interested in building branch locations there, and there were developers who wanted a mixed-use development with commercial storefronts on the first level and townhouses and condominiums above.
Some developers, he said, even expressed interest in developing the Polo Inn and next-door Mexican restaurant site in conjunction with the neighboring McDonald's property after rumors surfaced that McDonald's officials were considering moving the museum to the headquarters in Oak Brook. McDonald's officials last year denied that the museum, built on the site of Ray Kroc's first McDonald's walk-up restaurant in 1955, was going to move.
The motel building also holds a place in Des Plaines history, as it was built in 1931 as the first hospital in the Northwest suburbs. It was converted to a motel in the 1950s.