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Planned Downtown Hotel Receives $900,000 from Village

"La Banque" Hotel in downtown Homewood is inching closer to reality as trustees commit financial backing to the project.

Homewood trustees voted Tuesday night to give $900,000 and a recommendation for Class 8 tax designation to Ravisloe Country Club owner Dr. Claude Gendreau, all for the development of a boutique downtown hotel.

The two incentives are separate and distinct, Grandeau’s financial consultant Don Peelman said.

The Class 8 is in response to anticipated high operating expenses, as are custom in the business, says Homewood Community Development Director Paula Wallrich. The designation will reduce his assessment to ten percent of market value for the first ten years, 15 percent in the 11th year and 20 on the last, with an opportunity to renew. Not having a Class 8 is one of the contributing factors in the decline of the former Homewood Hotel, Peelman said.

The $900,000 in TIF money, on the other hand, is intended to cover property acquisition costs and other “soft costs” such as design and engineering reviews, according to Wallrich. 

“This is something that doesn’t come lightly and without a lot of thought,” Wallrich said. “What would happen if we didn’t have Dr. Gendreau looking at this property?

“I think about that building being vacant for how long?” she continued. “ I think about what the adaptive reuses would be for that building. Even if we were fortunate enough to have some entrepreneur interested in hotel use … the business model isn’t as strong as for someone who has that relationship, like Ravisloe, that can feed into this. I’m looking at this as a perfect fit.”

Trustee Ray Robertson, on the other hand, is looking at it as just the opposite.

“Everybody else sees the benefit of this. I don’t,” Robertson said. “I just don’t see an 18-room hotel being profitable. I don’t see anything that stops this from turning into one of the hotels on Halsted Street.”

Despite Robertson’s skepticism, the TIF money passed in a 4-1 vote (Trustee Tom Kataras was absent). As for the Class 8 designation, trustees only passed a recommendation. The decision is now in the hands of Cook County, which Peelman says he is optimistic about.

Grandeau plans to invest a total of $5.1 million into the redevelopment of 2034 Ridge Road. La Banque, or “The Bank,” hotel will feature 18 rooms, a lounge, a fitness center, a spa and a premier restaurant on the first floor. Gendreau said his new hotel will primarily cater to several of the large businesses in Homewood that routinely send guests out of town for overnight accommodations, including Ravisloe, which is already booked for weddings in 2013.

READ: Homewood Announces Hotel Plans for Central Business District

Gendreau hopes to start construction within the next month and have a completed project by the end of summer 2013.

Not everybody is happy with the board's decision. Check back later on Patch to read reactions from other Homewood taxing bodes, including School District 153 and the public library.

Glenna Elvery December 13, 2012 at 03:15 PM
The village agreed to DRAFT the TIF- they did not award it yet!! There is a difference!
Karen V. Maurer December 13, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Ryan, thanks for your continuing good reporting on Homewood Village Board meetings. Having attended as the League of Women Voters observer, I know the coverage is accurate and impartial. Please keep the upcoming public meeting on casino development in front of us through Patch: Monday, December 17, 7:30 p.m., Irwin Center on Ridge Road in Homewood. Karen Maurer
WA Mama December 13, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I can't wait to vote all of those trustees out. I'm tired of them throwing our money at niche markets.
Hernendo RevolveR December 13, 2012 at 07:11 PM
If they put a high-end hair salon in the lobby the hotel is sure to be a hit!
Mary-Jo December 13, 2012 at 08:11 PM
I'm happy to have my property tax help to give entreprenuers a tax break; especially for a "niche" business that will make money. It will be interested to check back in 3, 5, 10 years to see how they do in spite of the negativity. Also, a TIF is a tax incentive, which is different than a grant. I don't believe Homewood is writing Dr. G a check for $900K.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) December 13, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Thanks for corroborating my reporting, Karen. It means a lot. And thanks for the recommendation regarding the casino development. I was planning on re-featuring the meeting announcement in our weekend newsletter, in addition to mention on our Facebook page.
SHUSSBAR December 13, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Best of luck to Hotel La Banque. Maybe Homewood will feel a little more lively. Great to have people like M Gendreau willing to invest/risk their money in the community.
JP December 13, 2012 at 09:10 PM
I'm 100% on board with the mayor -- what are we going to do with another vacant building and for how long -- I like the lounge, the restaurant, the gym --- only problem I have is 18 rooms? How can you make money with only 18 rooms?
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) December 13, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Dr. Gendreau originally had more rooms planned but scaled back to play it a little safer. He did say that he has intention to expand should the business demand it, which he thinks it will. Considering the full year's booking of Ravisloe weddings to fill up the weekends and the 125-150 people anticipated to go through CN's Homewood training facility a month to fill up the weekdays, there seems to be a good chance he may be right.
Sadb December 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM
With a hotel in downtown Homewood the armed robbers can hang out there instead of robbing young kids at the skate park, gotta love Homiewood!!!
Failed Moosia December 14, 2012 at 03:50 AM
When the hotel is built it can start gambling runs to the Halsted Casino...Gotta love our trustees taking care of our kind of town Homewood was...
Foresight December 14, 2012 at 05:44 AM
All those with negativities about the project want to voice their ideas for the property? My guess is once the project is completed the empty storefronts in uptown Homewood will fill up. As a longstanding resident of the community I would like to thank Dr. Gendreau for his believing in our community.
Sadb December 14, 2012 at 06:36 AM
Im not being negative but also being a long time resident of Homewood im not sure a hotel uptown is gonna fill much of anything let alone all the empty buildings, unless you want another cash for gold or a pawn shop or beauty shop in uptown, all the resturants are gone, banks are gone, the schools in town are gone, home sweet Homiewood!!!
Brian James December 14, 2012 at 06:40 AM
???
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) December 14, 2012 at 09:27 AM
They're not. All the money is fronted by Gendreau and the village will reimburse him providing the business is running and compliant with pre-set expectations.
WA Mama December 14, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Don't forget the taekwondo place and liquor store!
WA Mama December 14, 2012 at 04:29 PM
But that building wasn't vacant until tenants were forced out to make room for the overly ambitious condo project that was going to change the village, that ended up falling flat on its butt. Then, the tenants who were left were kicked out so that we could have an upscale hotel for wedding guests and train employees. How much was CN asked to kick in for this project? And Ryan, can you further explain your comment above (the 3:27 am comment - don't you sleep?) about pre-set expectations, and over how long a period the village expects to deliver the money?
Juvenal December 15, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. If anyone knows of a thriving 18 room hotel any any inner- ring rust belt suburbs, please let me know -- and "nap rate" specials don't count. You know who else knows nothing about the hotel business? Dr Gendreau. But I'm sure he has lots of advisers eager to help him spend his money...
kayborst December 16, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Right on, some people just want complain.
kayborst December 16, 2012 at 12:37 AM
You are negative. 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!
TR December 28, 2012 at 09:02 PM
I do maintenance work for several property owners in Homewood, all have vacant spaces that can not be rented due to high taxes, the fear of being robbed or mugged, and most of all the stupid ordinances the village has in place to hinder business owners from opening up a office or store. Yet they allow tax money to be given to someone with a pipe dream of opening up a hotel on Ridge Road. Does this make sense? NO, why don't they help the current business and building owners out by cutting their taxes, offering money to update their buildings and attract new business. I feel for the business and building owners I work for, they are just barely making it due to lower rents, and high taxes, how is one to make any money?
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) December 28, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Could you provide more detail regarding the ordinances you mentioned?
WA Mama December 28, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Very well put, TR.
Vernon January 10, 2013 at 06:07 AM
Many of your negative opinions are a shame. In today's economic state, particularly in Homewood, we should be thrilled with any new and innovative business investors. For those investment and vision challenged nay-sayers in Homewood, this hotel can be very profitable. With over 20 years of luxury hospitality experience, I can tell you that all hotels make money from their outlets- food, beverage, spa, banquets- not from hotel room occupancy. The 18 rooms will, however help boost the owners banquet business at Ravisloe, as it will house the out of area guests for weddings and private parties. It will also stay active with area business visitors that previously had to drive to Tinley Park for accomodations. With an upscale housing option locally, it also promotes future large business growth in the business park off of Halsted. - not just hair salons and karate studios. This hotel and its outlets will be upscale/ trendy and will promote more shops and dining outlets downtown as it will attract a new young professional crowd. I am thrilled to see something new and exciting! For those who don't believe in Homewood anymore, go ahead and move to Orland Park, Frankfurt, or another "nicer" town riddled with traffic, strip malls, and no character. I'll keep fighting for home sweet Homewood and supporting the new Bank Hotel.
Vernon January 10, 2013 at 06:33 AM
I hope we get the casino too. Again, those with small minds and little vision have no clue how huge an opportunity for economic growth that it poses. Hundreds of jobs, upscale hotel and spa, great restaurants, top of the line entertainers unheard of in the south suburbs, provided security and additional police, and millions of dollars of tax revenue and relief for Homewood residents. Modern, well run casinos are nothing like the dark, smokey, low class dives of yesteryear. New casinos and facilities are beautiful, clean, safe, and professional. - See the Palm Springs area or the revamped Reno casinos- very nice. Those against gambling, I recommend don't patronize the casino. Homewood had legal gambling since the 1970's at Washingron Park, anyway. Plus, off the expressway and the majority located in Hazel Crest, the location hardly impedes on traffic or any residential neighborhoods. We should all pray to be selected by the State. I fully support the board and its brilliant quest to secure the casino.
kayborst January 10, 2013 at 07:53 AM
Totally agree!!!
Jason Hitchens January 10, 2013 at 07:57 AM
WELL SAID VERNON.

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