Rosemont selling village hall, plans to build a new one
Rosemont is selling the eight-story office building that has doubled as its village hall since the 1980s, with plans to construct a new building that would house its municipal offices within a small entertainment district.
The $3.8 million sale of the building at 9501 W. Devon Ave. to Northfield-based Saxony Properties is expected to close in the next two to three months, but village government and its public safety department headquarters will be able to stay there rent-free until the end of 2023, under terms of the deal.
The village has also pledged $5 million in tax increment financing district funds, tax money that doesn't go to local governments, to Saxony to pay for upgrades to the 1970s-era building, which is next to the Hilton Rosemont hotel and across the street from Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.
At the same time, village officials are working with an architect on the design of a new village hall that is proposed to be built on a portion of a parking lot within the The Pearl District, Rosemont's 16-acre mixed-use complex south of Balmoral Avenue and west of the Tri-State Tollway that opened in 2018.
The municipal building, expected to be up to 3 stories tall and as much as 60,000 square feet, would join a roster that includes Dave & Buster's, The Rose Hotel, and Carmine's and Truluck's restaurants.
"The feeling was it's a good spot for an office building," said Mayor Brad Stephens, who admitted having difficulties attracting another commercial user to The Pearl, which is across the tollway from the Fashion Outlets of Chicago and the village's Parkway Bank Park entertainment district.
Stephens attributed developers' hesitancy to higher taxes in the portion of Rosemont covered by The Pearl. Specifically, the tax rate for Schiller Park Elementary District 81 -- which runs three schools -- is 12%, compared to Rosemont Elementary District 78 -- which has only one school -- at 9%.
Stephens estimated the new village hall could cost at least $7 million or $8 million to build, but much of the unknown cost depends on the extent of soil issues requiring remediation. A formal contract for preliminary architectural designs is expected to be approved by the village board next month.
Construction would take 14 to 16 months and occur concurrently with the building of the new public safety department headquarters north of the Allstate Arena. A groundbreaking for the 101,000-square-foot cop shop was scheduled for late August until the dispatching agency backed out of the project due to escalating costs. That led Rosemont back to the drawing board, and it spent $686,400 to redesign the building.
Stephens declined having a combined village hall and police headquarters there, saying there isn't enough room and the department "needs its own identity." Both buildings are set to open in 2023.
About a dozen tenants currently lease office space from the village's Devon building, and it's likely several of them may move to the new Pearl building. That includes law firms that do work for village government, and Stephens' Leyden Township GOP political office. Like the current village hall, the new one may also have space for a restaurant, he said.
Also moving to The Pearl is the larger-than-life bronze likeness of town founder Donald E. Stephens, the current mayor's father, who operated the first village hall from his two-car garage in 1956.