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Tinley Park tries to find money for Holiday Inn

Tinley Park officials are working with Holiday Inn hoping help it find funding it needs expand.  |  Larry

Tinley Park officials are working with Holiday Inn hoping to help it find funding it needs to expand. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 19, 2012 11:52AM



The village of Tinley Park is trying to help the company that runs the Tinley Park Convention Center and Holiday Inn find loans needed to expand the hotel.

The help is not going to cost taxpayers a dime, said officials who hope the village’s name opens the right doors for hotel management.

“It will be private, not public. We’re trying to facilitate a loan for them. We don’t want to be in the hotel business,” Village Trustee Dave Seaman said.

The hotel’s management hopes to add 68 rooms to the 202-room inn, said Alan Rosenzweig, vice-president of Mid-Con Hospitality Group LLC, which manages the hotel and convention center.

An expanded convention center re-opened in 2011. The plan was to have a larger hotel by then, too.

But the recession that hit in 2008 resulted in banks being reluctant to loan money to hotels, Rosenzweig said. That’s where the village comes in.

“We are hoping it opens some doors,” he said.

“They’ve talked to some banks about doing business with us in an effort to find the money, but no one seems to be interested in lending to hotels right now. That’s pretty much true across the country,” Rosenzweig said.

Seaman said the village went ahead with expanding the convention center “because we figured out how to make the numbers work.”

The village helped fund the expansion with capital bonds that officials say will be paid off with revenue from the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district where the complex sits, and a 2 percentage point hike in the village’s tax on hotel and motel rooms.

“The problem with the recession is it really took hotels and the hospitality business as victims. It’s been all but impossible for them to get loans. To support a project like this, they’d have to refinance the entire hotel. That’s the dilemma,” Seaman said.

He estimates getting the $8 million expansion built would require refinancing the entire hotel for $20 million.

“It gets expensive because two or three banks have to participate in the loan. They all get a piece of it,” Seaman said.

Having more rooms in the Holiday Inn would help because some conventions prefer having all their people stay at the same site, Rosenzweig said.

Extra rooms would be built over the corridor that links the hotel with the convention center. The corridor was built with the plan to eventually add rooms overhead, Rosenzweig said.

While he’s excited by the idea, he’s grown frustrated.

“No one wants to listen to you. We’ve heard that from every bank we’ve talked to for the past four years,” Rosenzweig said.

Since the expanded convention center expanded, business is up more than 50 percent, he said.

“We’re pretty much sold out here when we have a convention,” he said.

“If they can’t stay here, they stay at hotels across (Harlem Avenue) or they stay in hotels on La Grange Road. It’s good for Tinley Park and other hotels, but some groups who want everyone to stay on site won’t come here if there aren’t enough rooms here. That hurts everyone,” he said.

Mayor Ed Zabrocki is glad the village is working with the owners to find funding, but was quick to reassure residents no public funds will be spent.

“This is strictly up to them. We’ll take them to banks we’ve worked with and ask them to please consider making a loan. Quite frankly, we’re told the conventions want more upscale-type rooms, more business suites, things like that. People can stay (at hotels) across the street, but it’s an advantage to stay on-site,” he said.

He doesn’t see the village as overstepping its bounds by helping a business find a loan.

“I look at it this way, you’re helping keep people in town. If they can’t stay here, they’ll go to Orland Park or Matteson,” he said.



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