Pending the approval of the American Association, independent league baseball will be coming to Rosemont.
Rosemont mayor Brad Stephens has been pushing to bring a team to Rosemont, using land near O’Hare airport as his leverage. Stephens first pursued the Chicago Cubs, offering the land to the team in 2013.
Obviously the Cubs chose to stay at Wrigley Field, but Rosemont has since set its sights on the American Association. As approved by the Village of Rosemont trustees, the ballpark project will cost $55 million, with the prospective team agreeing to a 20-year lease for the venue that opens in 2018. Rosemont’s ownership group will include two prominent sports executives in Shawn Hunter and Steven Gluckstern, both of whom have prior leadership experience in the NHL.
Rosemont has already completed several key steps, including the approval of a tax increment financing district for the development and reaching an agreement with AECOM to handle the design. Along with the ballpark, Rosemont’s plan includes a larger development known as the Pearl District, which the team’s ownership believes is ripe for the market. More from Crain’s Chicago Business:
That development will be home to Rosemont’s first boutique hotel, a new five-story, 165-room venue called “The Rose” that is set to open in spring 2018. It will also feature two restaurants and the fifth Dave & Buster’s location in the Chicago market.
“I think this may be, if not the best minor league ballpark location in the country, one of the top three,” Hunter said. “It is rare that a city has as successful a track record in operating venues as the village of Rosemont.”
While the new minor league franchise would be a tenant at the publicly owned facility, the agreement between Rosemont and the franchise will go beyond a rental fee, he said.
Rosemont Entertainment Group will also share revenue from nonbaseball events at the stadium such as concerts, food festivals, corporate events and other sporting events it will be designed to host, such as outdoor hockey.
The next few years could certainly bring some big changes to the American Association. Cleburne, TX has been pitching the league on a new ballpark that is opening in 2017, while Franklin, WI is inching closer to having an American Association facility ready for the 2018 season.
Rendering courtesy of Snow Krelich Architects.