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Local News

Joliet hotel-conference center to be built in stages

JOLIET – Plans for a 200-room hotel and conference center on Interstate 80 at Houbolt Road appear to be moving forward.

The project would include a Holiday Inn, which also plans to open in Minooka, according to a plan approved by that village last week.

The Joliet complex will include a 120-room Holiday Inn and an 80-room Candlewood Suites connected to a conference center that would include a restaurant and fitness center.

City planner James Haller said the developer, Hospitality Guru Group of Aurora, plans to first build the Holiday Inn.

“They’ve been talking to several construction companies, so I know they’re out soliciting bids,” Haller said.

Haller said the group plans to complete construction of the Holiday Inn before starting on the Candlewood Suites project. Candlewood will feature larger suites for visitors on extended stays.

Calls by The Herald-News to Hospitality Guru Group for comment were not immediately returned.

The Holiday Inn in Minooka is being developed by Marquette Properties Inc., which expects to begin construction late this summer. That hotel would include 83 rooms.

Haller said Hospitality Guru Group plans to meet with the city in the next few weeks about subdividing the property into separate lots for each hotel and the conference center.

The subdivision is a condition of the group’s financing, and would provide it with an option to sell off the buildings individually in the future should it so desire, Haller said.

The complex, anticipated to open in 2015, is expected to cost between $16 million and $20 million, according to city documents.

Joliet will provide a $2.4 million tax incentive package for the project. The tax rebate will run on a sliding scale for 10 years.

The rebate will not apply to the center’s restaurant, following objections last year by Joe Pecora, owner of the nearby Heroes West Sports Grill. As compensation to HGG, Joliet agreed to give up $200,000 in construction-related fees and taxes under a restructured incentive package.

Hospitality Guru Group also has hotels in Rochelle, Cincinnati, Corydon, Indiana, and Janesville, Wisconsin. The Janesville hotel is a Holiday Inn Express with a conference center.

In the past, the city has attempted to bring a convention center downtown.

This complex would be located near Joliet Junior College’s main campus at an interchange built in the early 1990s to bring new development into the city. Several businesses have located there over the years, including the Rock Run Business Park, hotels, gas stations and restaurants.

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