By MIRIAM FINDER ANNENBERG
As 2017 comes to a close, MB Financial Park expects some notable changes for the upcoming year, most significantly to its name. As of January 2018, Rosemont’s entertainment district becomes Parkway Bank Park, thanks to a three-year naming rights deal signed in late 2017 with Parkway Bank.
“I think it’s a great partnership,” said MB Financial Park General Manager, Bradley Stephens II. “Parkway Bank has been a part of the Village of Rosemont for a long time. We’re glad to have them on board as our naming partner; hopefully it’s a long-lasting partnership.”
Under the deal, Parkway Bank pays Rosemont $600,000 each year for attaching its name to the 200,000-square-foot entertainment district. While village officials talked with MB Financial about continuing their naming rights, negotiations fell through after MB Financial asked to renegotiate the previously agreed upon three-year deal down to one year, Mayor Brad Stephens said.
Regardless of the name, the Park is expected to remain Rosemont’s hub of dining, entertainment and community activity in the coming year, a role it’s played since its opening in 2012. Officials opened the district with the goal of bringing city dining and nightlife to the suburbs. It now houses a dozen venues offering food, music, film, bowling, comedy, the Aloft hotel, and more -- even indoor skydiving.
As for new venues joining the Park in 2018, the Village of Rosemont approved plans for the Windy City Harley-Davidson in August 2017. Situated between Hofbrauhaus and the BIG 10 building, the approved 20,000 sq. ft.building -- 10,000 sq. ft. on each of two levels -- will reflect the look and feel of Milwaukee’s Harley-Davidson factory.
The $1.5 million development also includes plans for 80 underground public parking spaces.
“It should bring a diverse new clientele to the Park,” Stephens said. “Bikers are not typically what we get.”
In addition to selling Harley-Davidson merchandise and products, the Rosemont location will serve as the company’s new headquarters and the center of rental and tour operations for the Chicagoland area.
Stephens said they’re aiming for a 2018 opening, but timing is uncertain. Harley plans on holding some community events and activities in their new space.
Also new heading into 2018 is Kings Dining and Entertainment’s Draft Room. In October 2017, Rosemont approved a $1.2 million allowance to fund the renovation.
“It’s not an in-your-face sports bar,” said event manager Margie Axelson. “It’s more of a gastropub.”
The new space, directly to the right when patrons enter the front door of Kings, features a 75-foot bar, more than 40 draft beers, three 14-foot HD LED display panels and from-scratch dining options.
“They’re trying to reposition themselves as more of a sporting and entertainment venue than a bar,” said Stephens.
Kings will pay off the allowance over nine years through an extra fee added to the restaurant and bowling alley’s rent payment.
New venues in the district are also village tenants. Rosemont owns MB Financial Park, collecting rent and restaurant, parking and entertainment taxes accrued in the district.
According to Rosemont’s 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), MB Financial Park rental fees, along with advertising fees and other fees paid to the village resulted in a $5.1 million operating budget for the Park. Operating expenses for that same year were reported at $8.2 million.
For 2017, Rosemont anticipates bringing in $5,695,085 from the Entertainment District, according to Rosemont’s 2017 Anticipated Sources of Revenue.
Outside of new tenants to the area, Stephens said work began in fall 2017 on a new valet drop-off lane at the south end of Muvico.
Additionally, Rosemont residents might see changes in the programming held in the Park’s common area in 2018. The Park hosts a variety of seasonal activities, including a free summer concert series, exercise classes like yoga and Zumba, painting, seasonal festivals, ice skating and more. These seasonal draws occasionally change, and scheduling for group exercise is sometimes inconsistent, something staff is working on eliminating next year.
“It’s kind of all over the map. What we’re looking forward to is more consistency in our programming,” said Stephens. “We’re in the process of brainstorming some new ideas, and we’ll be hopefully announcing some of those really soon.”