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Local News

Joliet puts incentives for Marriott hotel on hold after unions voice concerns

Concerns raised over nonunion pay

A $3.2 million incentive package for a company that wants to convert the old Barrett's Hardware store (above) at 65 N. Ottawa St. in Joliet into a Marriott SpringHill Suites hotel stalled Tuesday.
A $3.2 million incentive package for a company that wants to convert the old Barrett's Hardware store (above) at 65 N. Ottawa St. in Joliet into a Marriott SpringHill Suites hotel stalled Tuesday.

A $3.2 million incentive package for a proposed hotel downtown stalled Tuesday amid concerns raised by construction unions.

The Joliet City Council Economic Development Committee tabled a vote on the incentive package, saying they would consider it again when the hotel developer and unions come to agreement.

“We will convene when you guys get this worked out,” committee Chairman Larry Hug told a group from Posh Hospitality seeking the incentives and union representatives questioning whether prevailing wages would be paid.

The company plans to convert the old Barrett’s Hardware store at 65 N. Ottawa St. into a Marriott SpringHill Suites hotel.

The project is estimated to cost $15.9 million.

Two stories would be added to the building to accommodate 82 rooms, a restaurant, 1,500 square feet of meeting space, a 1,000-square-foot fitness center and other features.

“This will be one of the biggest private developments in downtown Joliet in 25 years – since Harrah’s Casino came,” said Dan Scott, regional manager for Posh Hospitality.

The Barrett’s building has been vacant for more than 20 years, and city staff said the incentive package is needed to get the hotel built.

But the incentives come with a requirement that prevailing wage be paid for 75% of the project.

The company plans to use both union and nonunion contractors for the project, providing the city with certified payroll records from nonunion contractors to show the prevailing wage standard is met.

Prevailing wage law mandates uniform pay rates, set by the Illinois Department of Labor, for workers in each specific construction trade employed on public works construction projects.

But Hug questioned whether nonunion contractors could be trusted to provide accurate records, and a union representative at the meeting said he was suspicious of cost estimates seen so far.

“The numbers are so out of whack sometimes,” said Timothy Rossborough, business representative for the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.

Attorney Joseph Mazzone, representing Posh Hospitality, suggested that the incentive proposal be tabled after committee members said they would not recommend approval.

“We’ll try to alleviate some of your concerns,” said Mazzone, adding that he would meet with union leaders.

Mazzone said he’s been meeting with union representatives for more than a year, and Mike Patel, who heads Posh Hospitality, at one time planned to open the hotel this June.

“He wants nothing more than to get this project off the ground,” Mazzone said.

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