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Thursday, August 09, 2012

Naperville Moves Ahead with Game-Changing Hotel Development; Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner Can Boast He Killed TWO Hotel Projects



Naperville is moving forward with a game-changing hotel development in downtown, but when Aurora had opportunities, Mayor Tom Weisner KILLED them (see photo above for example).

Justin Kmitch at the Daily Herald reports:


A potentially “game-changing” development that officials say could propel downtown Naperville for years to come won approval early Thursday morning from the city’s planning and zoning commission.
Commissioners voted 5-3 to recommend approval of the Water Street District project that is expected to include a 130-room Holiday Inn, a 551-space parking garage, 63 rental apartments and 16,000 square feet of office space. The proposal next goes to the city council.
The proposed development would cover 2.4 acres between the DuPage River and Aurora Avenue, with Webster and Main streets the east-west boundaries.
“I enthusiastically support this project,” Chairman John Herzog said. “It’s going to be a game changer for Naperville.”
Naperville is already winning the economic development game.  While Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner claims his strategy is "second to none" the reality is Weisner moves at a snail's pace and Naperville is moving forward on this project as fast as Usain Bolt.
But, it's not like Weisner didn't have his opportunities for Aurora.  Late developer Joseph Vantreese proposed a "game-changing" 14 story hotel and convention center across from River Street Plaza at Benton and River Street (see photo).
Weisner, using stall tactics, killed the project.  The project's economic viability was later ruined by the mayor.
Vantreese said at the time "we had a premier hotel brand, a major project that would not only have created jobs, but long-term economic development and help transform Downtown Aurora.  It was killed by Tom Weisner because he couldn't control it and I wouldn't promise to let buddies design and build it."
More recently, developer Lee Fry, who owns land near the Meijer Store on Rt. 59 on the Aurora-Naperville border, attempted to develop a Hampton Inn and Suites on a property that was already zoned, he wasn't asking the city for a single penny and would have leveraged the Aurora-Naperville corridor of corporate and business travel.
Weisner killed it, using various excuses since he was under political pressure by his campaign buddies to protect another hotel operator in Aurora who was afraid of the competition.  Mr. Fry then sued the city for violating his constitutional rights to develop on his own land.
Naperville City Council member Dick Furstenau even addressed the Aurora City Council at the time of the Rt. 59 project, saying the hotel market was too saturated and urged the mayor not to proceed.
So, now is Mayor Weisner going to go to the Naperville City Council, urge them not to build a hotel project in their already-thriving downtown?
Weisner, who is too afraid to address this issue to the people of Aurora, should at least stand before the people of Naperville and boast about how he killed TWO hotel economic development projects and challenge Naperville to try killing even one.
When it comes to incompetence and reverse economic development, Weisner can definitely claim he's second to none.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Killing the Hampton inn was a huge mistake but a bigger mistake is taking the Broadway riverfront land for a park. That land had a chance to be the condo development that would attract high income people who would enjoy the train and the river. Don't put a stiff in charge of economic development, lesson learned Aurora???

Anonymous said...

1:22
I could not agree with you more.

Anonymous said...

I think it's also obvious that Naperville was planning much farther ahead than Weisner does. I believe Furstenau coming to the Aurora council and telling them the market was saturated, and don't let the Hampton Inn be built, was part of a deliberate plan. I think he already knew about this possibility, and came to scam the Aurora council. Of course, scamming Weisner and the Aurora council has happened several times, hasn't it Mr. Shomon?

Anonymous said...

Who is the stiff mentioned in the first post?

Anonymous said...

There are crack addicts with better planning skills then Weisner.

And it is not so much scamming as it is taking advantage of the developmentally disabled.

Anonymous said...

Stiff-Sherm Jenkins, Tom WEisner, all lemming like city councilmen...

Anonymous said...

We don't need a hotel, we have the Police Palace.

Anonymous said...

As I recall Peters did the same for his hotel buddy when the Holiday Inn was being planned on the West Side. That is what took it so long to be built...just ask the owner.

Anonymous said...

No other city in the fox valley has failed to develop its economicness like aurora. Nice to have pawn shops and health clinics to go with the empty stores.

Anonymous said...

No other city in the fox valley has failed to develop its economicness like aurora. Nice to have pawn shops and health clinics to go with the empty stores.

Well no other city in the fox valley has the "profile" Aurora has. Here is the reality:

Median Household income:

Aurora $59,844
Batavia $91,689
North Aurora $74,178
Oswego $91,277
Naperville $98,488
SugarGrove $99,648
Montgomery $64,569

Then look at race factors.

Aurora has the lowest income the greatest population of Hispanics (by wide, wide margin - which means you have to market to two very distinct groups incurring 2x the advertising cost).

You also have higher taxes in Aurora and a very harsh business climate due to the city.

Now ask yourself this, why would a business want to open in Aurora?

The reality is you either change the demographic mix of Aurora in order to make it more competitive with surrounding communities or you need to figure away to drag them down to Aurora's level.

Anonymous said...

There is no harsh climate for business.

Anonymous said...

Most thinking people understand the socio economic realities that are present in aurora. However, they can not explain the absolutely horrible record of stupid development decisions that have riddled the city for 30 years. Sure, there have been some successes, but for the most part, there have been lots of blown promise and opportunity. Don't insinuate that aurora is one ubiquitos ghetto as there are expanses of prosperity including unincorporated areas within drawing distance. One must wonder who made these decisions and who was giving the advice. Just look at the results.
Order

Anonymous said...

5:33 you missed the best of all. Aurora is second to none in tattoo parlors. And 6:42 you had my agreement on the median incomes, but then you lost it by making it a racial issue. Socioeconomic level is the more important factor.

But it is nice to know I'm at least above median SOMEWHERE.

Anonymous said...

To 8:35 and 9:17:

Don't insinuate that aurora is one ubiquitos ghetto as there are expanses of prosperity including unincorporated areas within drawing distance.

That is not how established businesses looks at it for expansion into new territories. the will not look at the Aurora/Naperville boundary they will look at the cities demographics. The data is more readily available and they usually use filtering mechanisms to be cost effective in their searches.

but then you lost it by making it a racial issue.

Hispanic is not a race, in fact it is a very recent invention designed to create division rather than unity to prevent assimilation and cultural normalization, and it has been very successfully employed as such.

And the point was and remains, the media is not the same and it is more expensive to advertise in communities with such distinctions.

If you want an example go to the Carson's on Lake street and then compare it to a Carson's in a different community, your will note huge differences in merchandise. Many companies are not open to fine tuning their merchandise lines for the community as Carson's is.

The point is, as long as the surrounding communities are more homogenous, have higher amounts of disposable income and are not saturated, Aurora will continue to see less economic development.

Anonymous said...

Nobody's mentioned all the payday loan stores--we're definitely "Second to None" there! Just drive down Lake Street by Northgate, and there's at least 5 or 6 short-term loan places & cash-for-gold stores. A sure sign of a lousy economy, and something you won't see in Naperville.

Anonymous said...

True that 6:14!

9:17

Anonymous said...

The conventional approach of a "business" oriented economic dev commission staffed by a bunch of people who have never operated a business in their life will not work here. Get some hungry, non status quo newbies who have a strong need to get things accomplished and who have turned other places around. Pull the plug and start over before it really is too late.

Anonymous said...

More of the same from Weisner and the "good old boys" network. No wonder Aurora is the butt of jokes.

Anonymous said...

If the good old boys were competent we would be singing their praises but they are not and thus the reason for the jokes.

Anonymous said...

Actually Stephanie Kifowit has the butt of jokes.