Parking woes doom Arlington Heights 12-story boutique hotel project
Arlington Heights trustees have reviewed plans for a boutique hotel on the village's south side three times, and while they've liked the overall concept, one recurring concern has held the project up: too little parking.
That's what ultimately doomed the project in a vote of the village board this week.
The proposal called for a 12-story, 126-room hotel on a portion of the existing European Crystal Banquets property at 519 W. Algonquin Road. The banquet hall's owners argued their redevelopment plan wouldn't need as much parking as village code requires.
But after their request for a parking variation -- for 172 spaces from the 310 required by the village -- got a negative reception from the village's community development department and plan commission, the owners didn't bother to bring their attorneys, consultants or experts to a Monday night meeting of the village board, which has final say.
"Have you given up?" Trustee Jim Tinaglia asked.
"The horse is dead," replied James Cazares, general manager of the Ivy Hotel in downtown Chicago, which would have been a sister property. "I'm just here so that we can close the books on this project."
While Cazares may have been going through the motions, the village board officially rejected plans for the hotel in a 8-0 vote.
The banquet hall owners had proposed demolishing four smaller banquet rooms on the building's north end to make room for the hotel, which they say would have helped boost their slow weekday banquet business.
They said the hotel wouldn't need as much parking because they predicted the European Crystal's remaining main banquet hall would be busy on weekends, while the attached Ivy Hotel would be busy with business travelers Monday through Thursday.
Village officials disagreed, saying the current 175-space lot already can get crowded for big events, and recommended the owners secure long-term agreements with neighboring properties for overflow parking.
But Cazares said most neighbors would agree only to a short-term or "handshake" deal. The cost to build a $3 million parking garage on site wasn't feasible, he said.