New 'Chez' Arlington Heights hotel to come with rooftop bar

The latest iteration of a proposed boutique hotel on the south side of Arlington Heights calls for a sixth-floor rooftop bar, but for now, it won't be open to the public.

The 3,670-square-foot outdoor lounge atop the 6-story Chez Arlington, 519 W. Algonquin Road, would afford views of downtown Arlington Heights - and perhaps even downtown Chicago - while guests mingle and sip drinks.

But as a condition of approval of the hotel's latest plans, the village will require the rooftop bar be open only to hotel guests or those attending an event there. The hotel could book the lounge for an outside event, as long as the first-floor banquet space isn't being used at the same time, village officials decided.

The restriction came along with approval of a parking variation that will allow the hotel to operate with 172 spaces instead of the 248 required under village code.

Parking has long been a point of contention between the village and hotel developer, as various versions of the plans have come through village hall since 2016. It wasn't until August 2018 - when trustees reviewed the fifth iteration of plans - that they were willing to approve the project after receiving assurances the hotel would use neighboring businesses for parking during overflow events.

James Cazares, who would manage the new hotel, returned to the village board Tuesday night to ask for the parking variation and approval of other changes to the previously approved plan. Those changes include a reduction in building height from nine stories to six, and a slight increase in footprint. He said the changes were needed to make the project more affordable.

Cazares promised he would return once the hotel and its rooftop bar opens, hoping to persuade village leaders to allow the rooftop to be open to the public.

"I think (village officials) would be more comfortable with us taking baby steps, he said. "This is something new for the village."

Cazares already has begun talking with the village staff about a proposed electronic retractable roof for the top-floor bar that would be used in inclement weather. That element also would require approval by the village.

The hotel will be built on the north end of the European Crystal banquet hall site, where four smaller banquet rooms recently were demolished. While the main banquet hall is being preserved, Cazares and his family proposed the hotel addition to boost the banquet's slow weekday business.

Village trustees were supportive of the latest hotel plans, and at least one suggested the rooftop be open to the public at some point.

"It looks very cool. Your passion is just oozing out of you," Trustee Mike Sidor told Cazares. "If you're going to build this place anywhere, I want you to build it in Arlington Heights."

The project is scheduled for completion in 2020.

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The 6-story Chez Arlington hotel is proposed for construction as part of a redevelopment of the European Crystal banquets on Algonquin Road in Arlington Heights. Courtesy of Village of Arlington Heights
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