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Local News

Hotel developer eyes Joliet hospital district

A developer is considering a hotel in the neighborhood around Amita Health Saint Joseph Medical Center Joliet.
A developer is considering a hotel in the neighborhood around Amita Health Saint Joseph Medical Center Joliet.

A hotel developer is considering a project in the neighborhood around Amita Health Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet.

E&M Strategic Development has already met with city and Amita Health staff to discuss potential hotel development, according to a staff memo on the project.

The Joliet City Council Economic Development Committee will consider a pre-development agreement with Chicago-based E&M when it meets Tuesday.

E&M wants the city to contribute $3,000 for a hotel market study for the hospital neighborhood. The pre-development agreement would also prohibit the city from discussing incentive agreements in the same area with any other potential hotel developer until Feb. 1.

“I think that’s a fair requirement for them,” said council member Larry Hug, who chairs the Economic Development Committee.

The $3,000 would come out of a fund that has generated revenue since a tax increment financing district was established to encourage economic development around the hospital.

The city in January 2017 established a TIF district that extends to Jefferson Street on the south. The north edge of the district is Glenwood Avenue. On the east is Hammes Avenue, and on the west is Republic Avenue.

Amita in April hosted planning sessions for the TIF District, inviting the public and community leaders to participate. A hotel was among the desired developments proposed for the neighborhood. Hug said he believes a hotel is a good fit for the TIF district. It “provides a place for travelers to stay when someone is in the hospital.”

The feasibility study, which is expected to be completed within a month after it starts, could determine whether the E&M hotel gets built.

“We could give the green light, saying this fits the TIF district, and they could decide six months from now that it doesn’t fit their business model,” Hug said.

E&M recently opened a Holiday Inn Express in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, and plans to open an Urban Homewood Suites hotel in Skokie at the end of 2020, according to the staff memo for the Economic Development Committee.

The developer approached city staff in March seeking development opportunities in Joliet and was directed to the hospital TIF district.

E&M “has been conducting preliminary due diligence ever since,” the staff memo states.

The TIF district was created to reverse a trend of office vacancies in the area. Joliet and Amita officials hope to create an identity for the neighborhood with plans to name it Saint Joseph Square.

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