Construction of Wilmette’s first hotel, a six-story, 130-unit Residence Inn by Marriott, could start early next year on 1.6 acres of undeveloped commercial property off the Edens Expressway, village officials announced Friday.
The proposal must still undergo review and zoning approval through the public hearing process to become a reality.
The village and Indiana-based White Lodging Services Corp. must also complete a development agreement that makes the project economically feasible, Village Manager Tim Frenzer said Friday. A hotel occupancy tax central to the agreement would generate new village revenue — and help White Lodgings defray development costs.
Wilmette will review the agreement this summer, while White Lodgings seeks zoning approval for the hotel, Frenzer said. He said such agreements typically share hotel tax-generated revenue with the developer for set periods of time, such as 10 years, after which all the tax goes to village coffers.
Village staff have already worked with White Lodging, but its full request for zoning approval should be ready to start the approval process within 30 days, he said.
Village trustees are expected to get their first look Tuesday at a proposed ordinance setting the occupancy tax at 9.75 percent, Frenzer said.
Frenzer credited Village President Chris Canning with helping turn White Lodgings’ corporate eye to the village.
Canning himself called the Marriott brand “exactly the type of business development and investment that I have been working on since I was first elected.”
He said he has had periodic discussions about the location with Scott Gendell, whose Wilmette-based Terraco Inc. owns the property at 3201 Old Glenview Road, “and earlier this year he called me and wanted to renew the discussion.”
A hotel would benefit not only the business community, but also village residents who have friends and relatives visiting, Canning said, “and it also provided an opportunity for new revenue.”
Wilmette and White Lodgings began negotiations in February, Frenzer said: “This week was when the parties’ commitment to the … review process came together.”
According to village officials, White Lodging identified Wilmette as a site for their new project because of its “upscale” reputation, as well as its proximity to businesses in Chicago and nearby suburbs, and to Northwestern University and area medical centers.
The target property is an undeveloped section of a site that also includes the former Koenig & Strey office building. It lies along a frontage road adjacent to the Edens, just north of Old Orchard Road.
White Lodgings will seek zoning approval through Wilmette’s planned unit development zoning provisions. It will go through public hearings in front of the Plan Commission, before seeking final approval from the Village Board.
As proposed, the hotel will feature studio, one and two-bedroom suites designed for extended stays. Each will have a kitchen, and the hotel will also have a library, business center, fitness center and indoor swimming pool.
Because it does not have convention or conference space, officials believe it will have very little impact on area traffic, “and much of that will be heading south to Old Orchard Road,” Frenzer said.
He said the zoning process should be relatively straightforward, since the project is single use, rather than a mixed-use development.
White Lodging is a hotel ownership, development and management company, identifying itself as one of the three largest independent, privately held hotel organizations in the United States, with a portfolio of more than 155 hotels in 18 states. Those include Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood, InterContinental and Carlson hotels.