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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.

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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