Minor League Baseball In Rosemont? Could Happen
By: Todd Wessell
Journal & Topics Editor
Minor league baseball may be coming to the Village of Rosemont by the summer of 2018 with the possible construction of a new 7,000-seat stadium along the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) and Balmoral Avenue, Mayor Brad Stephens announced Tuesday.
During his annual State of the Village address to local business leaders, Stephens said a group has shown strong interest in bringing a team to Rosemont that would play in a new $50 to $60-million stadium that would be owned by the Village.
The possible new team would be a member of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. The group is expected to soon apply to the league for a franchise.
Stephens said the prospective owners have toured the 10.2-acre site where the arena would be located and found a “good opportunity here.” Stephens cited large attendance figures this year at minor league baseball games in the region.
Members of the league include the Gary SouthShore Railcats, Sioux Falls Canaries, Lincoln Saltdogs, Grand Prairie AirHogs and the Wichita Wingnuts.
The vacant parcel is located on the west side of the tollway south of the Lifesource building and north of Balmoral Avenue. Last month, Stephens announced plans for the construction of a 45,000 sq. ft. office building, 150-room hotel, and several new restaurants on 16 acres of vacant property along the west side of the tollway south of Balmoral. On Tuesday he added that a new 60,000 “single-user” office building and three new restaurants will also be constructed.
At yesterday’s luncheon hosted by the Rosemont Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Stephens said that if and when Fashion Outlets Chicago mall expands to the east toward River Road, which would likely result in the removal of the Rosemont Theatre, a new, smaller theater that would seat 2,200 people could be developed along Balmoral west of I-294 and south of Balmoral. In addition, the possibility exists that 12,000 sq. ft. of retail would be developed on the property.
Mayor Stephens told business leaders that sales and other tax revenue for the village have increased considerably in the last few years.
“Our police and fire pensions are fully funded and the Allstate Arena is one of the top ticket selling venues in the world,” said Stephens. “The mall is a shining star with sales tax income jumping from $6 million to $13.4 million.”
The Mayor also explained that ice skating will return to MB Financial Park at Rosemont this winter as well as a smaller Polar Peak sled hill that will be set up in front of Hofbrauhaus.
Two new restaurants, Gene & Georgetti and Rosie’s River Edge Tavern recently opened, said Stephens, adding that a refurbished village-owned waterfall at Higgins and River roads will be activated in about four weeks. It will continue to operate for about six weeks before it is shut down for the winter.
As for the possibility of minor league baseball coming to Rosemont, Stephens said current plans call for it to open in the summer of 2018 provided a new franchise is approved. The stadium, he added, would take about a year to construct.
“It’s all about affordable family fun,” he said.
That Balmoral Avenue corridor of Rosemont west of River Road has seen major development over the last five years with the opening of the village’s entertainment district, and fashion outlet mall. Plans also call for Balmoral to be extended to the west to connect with Bessie Coleman Drive on O’Hare Airport property.