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Local News

Joliet committee OKs market study for hotel in hospital district

Amita Saint Joseph Medical Center is seen June 7, 2017, in Joliet.
Amita Saint Joseph Medical Center is seen June 7, 2017, in Joliet.

A City Council committee this week gave preliminary approval to a market study for a hotel, the first project proposed in the tax increment financing district around Amita Health Saint Joseph Medical Center.

Joliet would share costs up to $3,000 with a private developer on the market study.

The study could determine whether Chicago-based E&M Strategic Development eventually builds a hotel.

“We are hoping that this is a project that would lead to other projects,” said Derek Conley, economic development specialist with Joliet. “It’s an anchor project.”

A hotel was one of the ideas generated at a planning session hosted by Amita in April when the hospital looked for community input on development possibilities in the TIF district. When E&M approached city officials to see if Joliet would welcome another hotel, Conley said he recommended the hospital neighborhood.

“The fact that this has been in the works for six months shows that they are serious,” Conley said.

Amita and the city see the TIF district as an opportunity to bring new business to the hospital neighborhood, where a number of medical offices have closed in recent years.

Mark Meyer, general partner with E&M, said Wednesday that it is too early to publicly discuss the hotel plans.

E&M has one hotel, a Holiday Inn in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, and has plans to open an Urban Homewood Suites hotel in Skokie in 2020.

The City Council Economic Development Committee on Tuesday voted, 2-0, to recommend approval of a pre-development agreement that includes market funding for the study. The agreement goes to the full council for a vote next week.

Money for the study would come from tax dollars generated through the TIF district created around the hospital in January 2017. The TIF district sets aside a portion of property tax revenue generated in the neighborhood for economic development.

Conley said the E&M plan would be the first to use TIF revenues.

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