Palatine leaders optimistic about potential for site of closed Holiday Inn Express
While Palatine's Holiday Inn Express and an adjacent health club have closed on village's east side, officials are optimistic about future development on the site.
Reopened as a Holiday Inn Express amid much fanfare after renovations to the building in 1995, the recently shuttered 183-room hotel and Palatine Fitness are on about 6 acres near the northwest corner of Dundee Road and Route 53. The Holiday Inn Express remains listed in the portfolio of Skokie-based F & F Realty Ltd.
Village Manager Reid Ottesen said that while the closure is "troubling," he's optimistic about the potential of a plan coming along for the property visible from Route 53.
"We look at the investment that's been taking place in the Rand-Dundee corridor, so I'm pretty confident that there will be another user coming in, whether it's a hotel or a whole different use altogether," Ottesen said. "I'm not concerned about the ultimate reuse."
Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz said the property should be attractive due to its location and that he'd be open to redevelopment if another hotel doesn't take over the building.
"We stay in our lane as it pertains (to development)," Schwantz said. "I'm not a developer. I'm not in that. We certainly take everything at face value when it comes in front of us and are open to a lot of different opportunities. If the private sector comes up with something that meets all the standards we're looking for and the health, safety and welfare of the village of Palatine, I think we'll take a serious look at it."
Ottesen said the Holiday Inn Express ownership inquired roughly a year ago about the possibility of converting the rooms into single-occupancy apartments. The idea never proceeded.
"We explained that would need to go through a whole separate zoning process," Ottesen said. "That was it."
F & F Realty President and Chief Operating Officer David Friedman could not be reached for comment Friday.
Another F & F property in Palatine is The Grand at Twin Lakes senior apartment complex on the edge of Route 53 at 920 W. Northwest Highway. F & F purchased the 191-room Hotel Bollero after it closed in 2012 and converted it into The Grand at Twin Lakes.
Palatine's Holiday Inn Express hosted a grand opening with former Mayor Rita L. Mullins, Friedman and several others in July 1995. It was a celebration of a multimillion-dollar renovation of what had been a Charlie Club & Fit Inn, originally in unincorporated Cook County.
Charlie Club and the fitness center were trendy when they opened in the late 1970s. Charlie Club morphed into a single-room-occupancy hotel with permanent residents.
In August 1994, Kimberly Epperson of Aurora was found dead in her Charlie Club room. A transient construction worker from Texas was charged with sexually assaulting and then strangling the 25-year-old woman after she rejected his advances and screamed for help.