As Rosemont prepares new TIF district, theater's future uncertain
Rosemont is setting up its ninth tax increment financing district in hopes of luring a redevelopment opportunity that could result in the demise of the 22-year-old Rosemont Theatre.
The proposed 6-acre district would encompass the village-owned theater and the parking lots around it at River Road and Balmoral Avenue. It would include pieces of previously established TIF 3 and TIF 4.
While a formal public hearing for the proposed TIF was held this week at Rosemont village hall, it could be months until the village board approves ordinances formally establishing the district. The TIF would freeze property taxes at current levels for 23 years, and taxes collected above that would go to a special fund controlled by the village to pay for public and private improvements.
Mayor Brad Stephens said those ordinances can be tabled until the time that a viable redevelopment opportunity comes to the forefront.
Stephens has publicly floated the possibility of demolishing the village-owned entertainment venue since 2015, when the operator of the nearby Fashion Outlets of Chicago hinted at a potential expansion of the two-story, 538,000-square-foot indoor mall.
While mall and village officials talked earlier this year about a possible option agreement to acquire the theater land, Stephens said this week he's open to other redevelopment opportunities that similarity could increase sales tax revenues for the village.
The theater is on track to break even this year -- and it made money last year -- but has struggled for years amid competition from downtown Chicago venues. Meanwhile, Fashion Outlets alone was responsible for bringing in about $9 million in sales tax dollars to the village in 2016, out of $14.7 million raised villagewide.
The budget for the proposed TIF fund is estimated at $65 million to pay for public and site improvements, according to a report from Kane, McKenna, and Associates, the village's TIF consultant.
The report provides the continued use of the theater as an objective, though it also lists retail, commercial and institutional as proposed uses.
If the 4,200-seat theater is ever torn down, Stephens has said, the village could rebuild a smaller version of it in another part of town, and would plan to partner with an entertainment firm to book shows.