DeKalb City Council approves four-story hotel on South Annie Glidden Road
DeKALB – The corner of South Annie Glidden Road and Knolls Avenue soon will be the home of a four-story, 90-room Home2 Suites by Hilton Hotel.
After narrowly gaining the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission, by a 3-2 vote, the proposal to build the hotel came before the DeKalb City Council at its regular meeting Monday night.
The council’s vote was not as close, passing 5-3, with Aldermen David Jacobson, Mike Verbic and Anthony Faivre voting against the project.
The majority of the council emphasized the financial benefit the hotel will bring to the city.
“I look at it as an economic engine. Property taxes from the hotel equals out to about 30 houses,” said 3rd Ward Alderman Michael Marquardt, suggesting the hotel moving into the lot would lower property taxes for the rest of the city’s homeowners. “There’s probably nothing that would satisfy everybody going in there. Overall, for the city, I think it’s more a benefit than a negative.”
Fifth Ward Alderwoman Kate Noreiko also expressed support for the proposal.
“I’m a homeowner also, and I try to think, ‘How would I feel in that situation?’ And I would certainly have concerns,” Noreiko said. “[But we are not in the financial position to] turn our back on reasonable offers. And it is reasonable.”
Pramit Patel, who will own and operate the hotel and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University’s Class of 2000, said the building could help the city catch up with the financial growth of other college towns.
“When I look back at the past
18 years, I notice that a lot of college towns have experienced a lot more growth than DeKalb has,” Patel said.
Faivre, meanwhile, dissented, expressing concerns that it was unfair to residents of the adjacent subdivision to bear the brunt of the traffic in and out of the hotel.
“If they could have access of Annie Glidden and not the subdivision, [I would be more likely to vote in favor],” Faivre said. “We’re kind of shoehorning it into the lot.”
Max Maxwell, a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, spoke during public comment to express a change of heart since his vote in the meeting that brought the issue before the council.
“The more I thought about the size or mass, the more I reconsidered,” Maxwell said. “I don’t believe it belongs there.”
Maxwell said he had scouted out the location after the vote, looking at the property from a variety of angles from a lawn chair.
“I sat there for about two and a half hours, and it would be quite a burden on people,” he said.
Other residents of the city agreed. Steve Brown, who lives near the build site, said the Hilton moving in will have an adverse effect on the community.
“To just ignore the dangers that could exist there, that would be wrong and it could be catastrophic,” Brown said, citing the difficulties of doing construction work in the crowded area.
“[And], it’s on a flood plain. Why would you even want to put a hotel ... on a flood plain?”
To that end, Maxwell said he had several other possible build locations in mind, if the builders were interested.
Concerns notwithstanding, the proposal passed.
Patel said that the hotel will begin construction in the next few weeks and will be open for business within the next year.