After Naperville council approval, CityGate West developers plan to change project's name
Twenty-five years after purchasing about 100 acres at Route 59 and I-88, developer Aristotle Halikias was given the green light this week to move forward with his long-term vision for a vibrant, mixed-use campus in northwest Naperville.
But one aspect of the $200 million CityGate West project is already certain to change: its name.
A nearly five-year-old joint marketing agreement between Inter-Continental Real Estate and Development, run by the Halikias family, and Calamos Property Holdings, which owns CityGate Centre on the east side of Route 59, has been terminated over a disagreement about including hotels in the CityGate West proposal. As a result, Inter-Continental no longer can use the CityGate brand, officials said.
The partnership was formed out of the belief there could be "synergies in development and concept" between the two projects, Calamos Senior Vice President Ken Witowski told the Naperville council Tuesday. Common branding, coordinated signage and even a pedestrian bridge over Route 59, which would connect the properties, were imagined as part of a cohesive plan to promote Naperville's new northwest gateway.
Inter-Continental developed plans for its art-inspired campus over time, calling for a blend of apartments, retail, restaurants, offices, entertainment facilities, open space and -- a piece that has drawn some community criticism -- two hotels.
With a full-service hotel of their own, developers of the original CityGate Centre objected, Witowski said. The hotel industry in Naperville was struggling before the pandemic, he said, noting "recovery to pre-COVID occupancy rates may take years."
Because the hotels remained part of the CityGate West proposal, Calamos ended the marketing agreement, effective Oct. 31, 2020, according to a letter to the city. The pedestrian bridge also was removed from the project.
Having already submitted its application to the city, the CityGate West name stayed put through the review process so documents wouldn't have to be changed, attorney Michael Roth said.
Now that zoning and development plans have been approved, the project will be rebranded, representatives say, though a timeline for announcing a new name has not been determined.
Beyond the former marketing deal, Roth said, CityGate West has "no affiliation whatsoever" with CityGate Centre.
Inter-Continental has spent months adjusting its proposal for the 60-acre development to address concerns related to the hotels, among other elements.
In initial plans, developers and city officials disagreed on whether the facilities -- and their proposed dependence on the existing Topgolf and WhirlyBall game centers -- met Naperville's requirements for a full-service hotel. The iteration approved Tuesday satisfies the intent of the code, officials said, with the addition of banquet and convention centers, the reuse of the shuttered Odyssey Fun World as an event venue, and a provision requiring one restaurant to be operating before a hotel opens.
The campus aims to "create a vibrant, sustainable community and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for schools and government," Halikias said in a written statement. "Our project can be a catalyst in the process to regenerate and revitalize the regional economy."