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Homewood to Consider $900,000 Investment in Downtown Hotel: On the Agenda

A preview of what's going to be discussed and voted on during Homewood's Dec. 11 village board meeting.

Homewood Village President Richard Hofeld and the village trustees will meet at Homewood Village Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m.

Casino Lobbyist

Trustees will vote to hire Alfred G. Ronan, Ltd. to represent the village's interest in developing a joint casino with East Hazel Crest. The agreement specifies a one-year contract with the lobbyist beginning Jan. 1, 2013 at a rate of $3,000 per month.

Tax Incentive Money for Future Downtown Homewood Hotel

Dr. Claude Gendreau is requesting $900,000 from the village in tax incentive money to help rehabilitate his property at 2034 Ridge Road into a boutique downtown hotel. Gendreau is also requesting a Class 8 property tax designation for his future hotel. These designations are reserved for the improvement of properties in areas in need of substantial renovation. Should trustees give it to him, he will get tax breaks for the next 12 years. 

New Public Works Software

Homewood Public Works is requesting $43,580.00 for new centralized work order management system.

Steve Myles December 10, 2012 at 02:19 PM
It will go out of business within a year. Homewood is just not that popular of a visitor's area when there are 5 motels/hotels within a mile of the downtown area.
WA Mama December 10, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Really? Name those hotels. Then tell me honestly if you would allow your in-laws to stay there. P.S. your in-laws are not OTR drivers.
WA Mama December 10, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Gendreau shouldn't qualify for Class 8: The Class 8 real estate tax incentive established by the Cook County Real Property Assessment Classification Ordinance is designed to encourage industrial and commercial development in areas of the County which are experiencing severe economic stagnation. Class 8 is structured to permit the Assessor...to certify that such areas are "in need of substantial revitalization," defined in the Classification Ordinance as follows: "An area no less than 10 contiguous acres or more than 1 contiguous square mile in size which is in a state of extreme economic depression evidenced by such factors, as defined in the rules and regulations as promulgated by the Office of the Cook County Assessor, among others, as (a) substantial unemployment; (b) a low level of median family income; (c) aggravated abandonment, deterioration, and underutilization of properties; (d) a lack of viable industrial and commercial buildings whose absence significantly contributes to the depressed economic and unemployment conditions in the area; (e) a clear pattern of stagnation or decline of real estate taxes within the area as a result of its depressed condition; (f) a manifest lack of economic feasibility for private enterprise to accomplish the necessary modernization, rehabilitation and development of the area without public assistance and encouragement; and (g) other factors which evidence an imminent threat to public health, welfare and safety."
Homewood Jim December 10, 2012 at 03:36 PM
With Ravisloe having become a 'wedding destination', all the out-of-town guests have been directed to stay in Tinley Park. A small hotel in downtown Homewood would be an easier and more logical choice for those folks. It's difficult to make the case that Dr. Gendreau doesn't know what he's doing, given the success of Ravisloe CC.
Flossmoor gal December 10, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I guess I'm so happy that someone with Dr. Gendreau's financial wherewithal and apparent business knowledge has such an interest in Homewood. Ravisloe is a beautiful and wonderful place, and he saved it from....what?? It would be nothing. It would not have been a new subdivision in this economy; rather, it would be empty and declining. I think it would be exciting to have a lovely hotel on Ridge Road for out-of-town Ravisloe wedding guests, golf outings, and yes even our own relatives and friends who visit. Why send them to Tinley? There is no hotel on Halsted that any of us are sending our guests. I say, let's welcome the good doctor with open arms and yes with money as incentive. He has proven that he is here to stay and that he has vision and money to spend. Otheriwise, the buidling will be vacant for years to come. The Ridge Road businesses would also benefit, of course.
Brandon December 10, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Those hotels on Halsted are disgusting. I stayed an one some years back and it was so digusting I asked for my money back. This upscale hotel will very nice. Other surrounding communities will take of advantage of this destination especially when they have family members come from out of town. $900.000.00 incentive is a lot of loot Homewood should have so,e type of ownership/partnership in this venture.
Sadb December 10, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Who would seriously want to stay in a motel in Homewood?? unless your car broke down!!!
Ernie Souchak December 10, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Wedding guests at the Ravisloe functions, out-of-town relatives, McCormick Place convention attendees who can't find rooms downtown, but not you, obviously. You wouldn't "fit in" anyway.
Harold McDuffy December 10, 2012 at 05:17 PM
As a Geographer/GIS specialist, I can tell you a hotel in downtown makes little sense. For one corporate "chain" hotels are almost a necessity in the market today, a "boutique" hotel in this market makes no sense. For one most people will stay at a known quantity like a comfort inn or holiday inn over some boutiquey niche hotel that makes sense in Door Country but not in Homewood. If this man were smart he would franchise, it would give him easy name recognition and placement on signs and websites. At the very least partner with a hotel chain...like choice hotels for instance and become part of there "Ascend Collection" so this hotel doesn't go under right away.
Ooftus Gooftus December 10, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Glenwood Golf Course financial woes will be an everlasting burden on Glenwood tax payers. Can we learn from this? Borrowing good money to finance their clubhouse will only increase their burden. An entrepreneur should be able to finance the hotel without making Homewood take a million dollar hit. Also, does Homewood need a casino? Didn’t we try gambling our reputation with off track betting? Fooling Homewood residents, and increasing future taxes, giving Tiffs like Halloween candy is the Chicago way, should not be representative of Homewood. Dumb ideas should be discussed and then dumped. Perhaps Flossmoor would be interested in expanding their investment opportunities?
Ooftus Gooftus December 10, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Glenwood Golf Course financial woes will be an everlasting burden on Glenwood tax payers. Can we learn from this? Borrowing good money to finance their clubhouse will only increase their burden. An entrepreneur should be able to finance the hotel without making Homewood take a million dollar hit. Also, does Homewood need a casino? Didn’t we try gambling our reputation with off track betting? Fooling Homewood residents, and increasing future taxes, giving Tiffs like Halloween candy is the Chicago way, should not be representative of Homewood. Dumb ideas should be discussed and then dumped. Perhaps Flossmoor would be interested in expanding their investment opportunities?
FlossmoorMom December 10, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I agree, my in laws were looking for a local hotel and ended up going to Orland...
Sadb December 10, 2012 at 06:18 PM
True Ernie, i wouldnt fit it, i was raised in Homewood and its not the same town i know it as, all i can say it will bring the crime from Halsted st the downtown area, hop off the train rob a few people and cars maybe a stabbing or two then head back to the city, Homewood my kind of town!!!
Juvenal December 10, 2012 at 06:54 PM
They wanna hire Al Ronan, the king of the sleazy connected Springfield insiders? Wouldn't Tony Soprano return their calls? http://www.daily-chronicle.com/2004/02/15/top-lobbyist-in-the-middle-of-federal-corruption-probe/aqriqsz/news03.txt Note to Homewood officials: if you get in bed with the devil, sooner or later you're gonna have to f#@k.......
Amy December 10, 2012 at 07:24 PM
I am ok with a boutique hotel, because the ones on Halsted only house cockroaches and people who have "night jobs". But he will probably charge an arm and a leg for a room that nobody can really afford and then it will become another vacant hotel. I am wondering what is going to happen to the amount of traffic in the downtown area.
BlackHawks Fan December 10, 2012 at 07:35 PM
That is an old story and Mr. Ronan wasn't charged with any wrongdoing.
Mary-Jo December 10, 2012 at 08:20 PM
This is fantastic news and what a great guy for investing in Homewood, even though he doesn't even live in the South Suburbs. Even if the Village doesn't receive tax benefits for 10-12 years, this hotel will create jobs, beautiful the downtown, and be a useful addition. There are actually several sizeable businesses in Homewood, East Hazelcrest, Glenwood, Chicago Heights that have to send their guests to Tinley Park. Every year, HF has various reunions where people want to come back to town and end up having to stay outside of the area they're actually coming to visit. Add in weddings held at OFCC, FCC, Calumet, Idlewild, and Ravisloe, and this hotel should do just fine. It may not be crowded every week, but during peak times, it will be completely booked up.
Mary-Jo December 10, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Was that meant to be a serious question?
Fredric Mitchell December 10, 2012 at 09:58 PM
tax incentives should only be tied to tangible, measurable job creation numbers, not promises. there should also be penalties and revocation clauses if goals aren't met. this practice of dangling the imaginary 'jobs' carrot needs to stop. proof: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/us/how-local-taxpayers-bankroll-corporations.html
Karen Kurowski McHugh December 10, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Has anyone who is suggesting the flea ridden roach motels om Halsted ever stayed in one? I swear...someone could walk into the center of town and hand out a thousand dollars to everyone and there would still be people asking "why only a thousand?" "why not invest it in trader joes" "why not use it to make Homewood take a two decade step back in time so everyone can remember how great the 80s were" "why not use it to build a huge wall around the Halsted corridor to keep all the heinous crimes from escaping" So much for foward progress and embracing new and unchartered territories. There would be enough people from weddings, holiday parties, weekend getawayers and the like to make it a lovely addition to the downtown.
Chuck Schriner December 11, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Agreed
minnie ha ha December 11, 2012 at 04:13 AM
If a private investor wishe to embrace new and unchartered territories, let them invest with their own money, without tax incentives. And what is wrong keeping Homewood's neighborhood intact? That was reason enough for living here....nothing has changed, except for the greed of those in office to change what we are, who have come into to the light, just like the referenced cock roaches.
Nick002 December 11, 2012 at 04:22 AM
I actually think the hotel is a good idea. I just question whether a gift of 100 tax dollars from every household in Homewood -- that's what $900,000 equals -- is appropriate for a privately owned venture.
minnie ha ha December 11, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Bingo!!! Private investment does not equal Homewood's monetary investment. Homewood, by allowing a hotel to be built in the heart of the village is taking on a substantial risk. Failure would bring the hotel demise seen on Halsted to the heart of our downtown..
Raoul Duke December 12, 2012 at 08:33 PM
The residents are not being offered a thousand dollars. They're being asked to pay thousands of dollars. There's a difference. If you want to invest money in an empty hotel, just to help convince yourself that you live in Highland Park, go right ahead. I would rather be taxed for something useful, like public schools. And working sewers.
Mary-Jo December 12, 2012 at 09:51 PM
What makes you think we (taxpayers) are being asked to pay for this? A vacant building generates no tax revenue for Homewood. A TIF means no / little tax revenue for a specified period of time or amount of money. It's not the same thing. Are you all angry that Target, Best Buy, or Kohls came to Homewood? They probably all had TIFs. Homewood granted money to Aurelios for their expansion. That was a grant (gift). This hotel is asking for a tax incentive.
Mary-Jo December 12, 2012 at 09:55 PM
It is a good thing to tie metrics to incentives. This hotel will not generate as many jobs as say, Target or Home Depot, but more than a bakery or hair salon. I would think everyone could agree that a few more jobs, which should range from minimum wage to managerial, would be a good thing for Homewood.
Sadb December 12, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Why was Aurelios granted money? everytime i look they open another resturant and a $30 pizza is out of my price range, i think they make enough to cover thier own expansion, the banks not the only vacant building in Homewood and what about all the empty houses, Homewood need more than a hotel to boost the towns economy!!!
Mary-Jo December 12, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Yes, it does. And the hotel is a nice start.
kayborst December 16, 2012 at 12:36 AM
What is your objective? You never have anything good to say about Homewood. Every comment is nasty and negative. Just one of those people I guess. Full of something!

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