Developer wants to erase garage from hotel plan in Des Plaines

An international real estate developer wants to remove a proposed parking garage from plans for a new hotel in Des Plaines.

The city council will review the request tonight, two weeks after some aldermen criticized the proposed change during an initial discussion.

The proposal focuses on land near the 1700 Higgins Centre office building at 1700 Higgins Road. A five-story Homes2 Suites by Hilton operation with 107 guest rooms has been proposed. The six-story office building would remain.

An Australian real estate outfit called Mariner Higgins Centre owns the nearly 6-acre property. It has planned to sell about an acre on the southeast side to a different developer, Itasca-based NexGen Hotels, for the hotel.

The hotel plan was publicly unveiled in 2020, and the city council approved it in 2021. But the building hasn't yet gone up.

A 34,658-square-foot parking garage for the office building and hotel was part of the plan. It was to be built on the property's northwest side and have 207 spaces.

Mariner Higgins Centre was set to purchase a 1,821-square-foot section of undeveloped land from Des Plaines for the garage. But now the company wants to cancel that deal and scrap the garage before it's built.

The garage no longer is financially viable, a Mariner Higgins Centre representative told the council Dec. 19.

But the developers also believe less parking than originally proposed is needed.

Commuting habits have changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, John Carlisle, the city's community and economic development director, said during the Dec. 19 meeting. Additionally, the office building and hotel would have different peak parking needs, he said.

But 5th Ward Alderman Carla Brookman questioned how long those pandemic-prompted work habits may last, and she feared the resulting parking spaces would be inadequate. She accused the developers of changing the plan just to save money.

The council postponed further discussion of the request until tonight to give Mariner Higgins Centre officials more time to develop options. A preliminary vote could come tonight. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at city hall, 1420 Miner St. The meeting can be viewed live online at

If plans progress, construction is scheduled to begin this spring and conclude by the end of 2024, Carlisle said.

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The proposed site of a hotel and new parking garage at 1700 Higgins Road in Des Plaines. Courtesy of City of Des Plaines
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