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A Downtown for Rosemont Becomes Reality
By TODD WESSELL Journal & Topics Editor
Excavation activity on a prime piece of real estate in Rosemont will begin this month where a new multi-million dollar entertainment district complete with restaurants, at least one pub and an upscale bowling alley, will be built.
Rosemont Village Board members on Sept. 1 approved two lease agreements that will bring in King’s Bowl and Lansdowne Irish Pub to the acreage that’s located along the east side of the Tri-State Tollway south of the Muvico Theater and north of Balmoral Avenue. The work scheduled to begin this month calls for the filling of a huge 16 to 18-ft. deep hole on the site where Rosemont officials had hoped to one day locate the state’s 10th casino. Instead, nearly two years ago, the Illinois Gaming Board chose a site just a half-mile to the north in Des Plaines as the site of the new casino. That decision set the stage for Rosemont to set into motion its plans for a new entertainment district “We’re finally going to bury this thing,” said Rosemont Mayor Bradley Stephens at the Sept. 1 village board meeting. “No longer will the property be called the former casino site. Its new name is The Park at Rosemont.”
Stephens gave a presentation of the entertainment district plan and other developments in Rosemont to local business leaders at a Rosemont Chamber of Commerce luncheon later that day. He explained that the entertainment district cost will run around $40 million and consist of 350,000 sq. ft. Planned for the district is construction of an outdoor plaza area where festivals, farmer’s markets, Christmas tree lighting ceremonies and even a skating rink will be located.“This will become the downtown area that the late Rosemont Mayor Don Stephens and the current mayor (his son) envisioned not only for Rosemont but the O’Hare market,” said Marc Offit, the village’s realty advisor, during the same luncheon.
An anchor of the entertainment district will be a 27,000 sq. ft. Toby Keith’s restaurant, a popular venue that will feature not only food but also live entertainment where as many as 2,000 people can enjoy. Opening of the district at this time is anticipated to occur in the spring of 2012. The two lease agreements inked call for King’s Bowl, based in the Boston area, to occupy 27,000 sq. ft. and feature 20 lanes. The annual rent generated for the landlord of the new development, the village, will total $725,000. The Irish pub will occupy 6,000 sq. ft. and generate $259,000 for the village in rent. Additional sales and food and beverage tax revenue will be generated as well. “This has been four years in the planning,” said Mayor Stephens after the Sept. 1 village board meeting. “What the entertainment district means is there will be a new destination for folks to come to and have a nice time. It’s another element of what we do here." Stephens pointed to other recent developments in the village including the opening earlier this year of the Cisco Systems building on Balmoral Avenue and the purchase of a large office building north of Balmoral along I-294 by Lifesource. Both companies will each bring in as many as 400 new employees to the area.
In addition, Rosemont recently announced that it will build a new 1,500-permanent seat stadium for the Chicago Bandits professional women’s softball team that will be located on the west side of I-294 near Balmoral Avenue.