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Mayor to Business Community: Progress is the
Bottom Line

Mayor Brad Stephens delivered his annual “State of the Village” address at the Rosemont Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, at Rosewood Restaurant.

More than 170 members and guests filled Rosewood’s Banquet Room to hear what is always the most popular program and speaker of the year. The mayor recounted the significant progress made by the Village of Rosemont in 2012, and what the mayor and village trustees are planning for the next 12 months.

The mayor began his address expressing his excitement with the expansion of The Ballpark at Rosemont and the eminent completion of The Dome at The Ballpark at Rosemont — a 140,000 square-foot air dome that will cover two additional all-turf fields. The two fields and dome are part of the entire Ballpark at Rosemont development that includes the 2,000-seat Stadium at The Ballpark at Rosemont, home of the Chicago Bandits, NPF world champions. The stadium was completed in 2011.

“I don’t think people realize the magnitude of this dome and what it will look like from I-90,” Mayor Stephens said. “At 75 feet in height, it will be twice as tall as its nearest neighbor, the GSA building, and 1.5 times the size of the LifeSource building.”

Village officials are working with the Illinois Baseball Academy, who will manage programming for The Dome at the Ballpark, which will include offering weekend clinics and competitions for children and youth. Not only will The Dome at The Ballpark create wonderful physical education opportunities for young people, but it will generate hotel business on the weekends, when there isn’t very much convention business and occupancy is lower. The village also is engaging in discussions with the Chicago Cubs organization regarding sponsorship of The Dome at The Ballpark at Rosemont.

The mayor turned from baseball to Balmoral Avenue, announcing that the off-ramp onto that street from the I-294 (Tri-State) Tollway that was opened right before the holidays last year has become extremely popular. State of Illinois transportation officials originally projected a 25 year pay-back of their contribution earmarked for the construction costs (50 percent) of that ramp. But the ramp has been so heavily utilized that at the current rate, Illinois’ contribution will be paid back in just a little more than 10 years, and that projection doesn’t even take into account the huge traffic increase anticipated when the shopping mall opens next year.

Phase Two of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) plan for Rosemont is underway and consists of the construction of a bridge that will connect Balmoral Avenue to southbound Mannheim Road. The mayor explained that southbound traffic on Mannheim will go through a fly-under tunnel to get to Balmoral. It is due to be let in portions, from this November to January, 2013.

Phase Three will connect the Balmoral-Mannheim link to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, completing the entire plan. Contracts will be let for this phase in the summer of next year.

The mayor said that MB Financial Park at Rosemont is nearly complete and has met or surpassed all projections. My Big Fat Greek Restaurant is expected to open by November 1. Hofbraühaus is expected to open sometime in early November.

All the other enterprises – Adobe Gilas Mexican Cantina, Five Roses Pub, Kings Lanes and Lounge, Park Tavern, Toby Keith’s I This Bar & Grill and Zanie’s – are complete and are operating so successfully that there are long lines every weekend. All of MB Financial Park at Rosemont’s dining and entertainment facilities are contributing to a cooperative promotional and advertising fund to support their businesses.

The mayor specifically saluted and thanked officials from Muvico, the uxurious, 18-screen movie megaplex, for being the first company to construct a facility in MB Financial Park at Rosemont, and to continue to operate it throughout the past four years, especially when there were no other facilities there.

Construction of the Big 10 office building will be underway in the next few weeks and construction is proceeding faster than expected on the Fashion Outlets/Chicago-Rosemont shopping mall.

“The word in the retail industry was: ‘It will never get built,’” said the mayor of the mall development. “But the mall’s executives already have signed 80 percent – the equivalent of the Aurora Outlet Mall — of the leases of the total 530,000 square feet of space. The four anchors include: Saks Off 5th, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Forever 21.”

According to projections, revenues generated from the mall’s tax receipts to Rosemont could double Rosemont’s current salestax receipts; And the mall’s management won’t even begin to initiate the real marketing focus until after New Year’s.

“The unsolicited response to the mall on social media has been enormous,” Mayor Stephens added. “The company has never been this far along on their leasing this early in a development.”

Village officials are working with brokers and owners of the former Ramada property adjacent ot the Holiday Inn Express on a 500,000 square feet of loft office suites and they already have handshake commitments on 325,000 square feet.

The mayor and village officials will be meeting with the new owners of the Wyndham, who are considering which hotel flagship to retain for the property’s management.

Development at River and Higgins includes a new headquarters for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. The project includes 150,000 square feet of office space, a 200-room Hampton Suites and a 620-car parking deck. Construction will begin in the spring of 2013.

Both presidential campaigns and economists are talking about the importance of creating public sector projects that drive private sector employment. That’s exactly what Rosemont has accomplished on an enormous scale, especially considering that the village’s population is 4,202.

“One of my favorite things to say is we have so many developments that we have created almost as many jobs as we have residents,” the mayor said as he completed his remarks.

“We will continue developing every piece of property we have to develop.

“I am very fortunate to have your support. There’s no place like Rosemont. I am very proud to be here,” Mayor Stephens concluded.

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