With a possible expansion to the seven-year-old venue and the adjacent hotel in the works, Tinley Park officials want to make sure the management team that runs the Holiday Inn Select Hotel and adjacent Tinley Park Convention Center still will be solid without its leader.
Jerry Stillman, 71, president of Mid-Continent Development & Construction, Tinley Park Hotel and Convention Center LLC and owner of the Holiday Inn Select in Tinley Park, died May 24.
In 1998, he and the village struck a 20-year deal to manage the Tinley Park-owned convention center, 18501 S. Harlem Ave., and to own and operate an adjacent hotel. Both would be first-class, and the village would help foot the bill to keep it that way, according to contracts between the village and Stillman.
Tinley Park officials are drafting a new 20-year maintenance and capital improvement agreement with the remaining hotel management team worth $12 million. That would replace the former deal, which is scheduled to expire in 2018, and help Stillman's team keep the hotel first-class, village manager Scott Niehaus said. Keeping the hotel and convention center in mint condition could mean buying new furniture, slapping on a fresh coat of paint or fixing the roof.
Niehaus said Tinley Park is drafting a new contract because the village and the hotel are considering a tandem expansion, which would cost the village about $10 million. It's not clear how much a hotel expansion would cost Stillman's team. Stillman's wife, Reva, who now is leading the hotel management team, did not return phone messages.
A market study the village commissioned last year said Tinley Park should double the usable space inside the convention center to 80,000 square feet to remain regionally competitive. The adjacent Holiday Inn Select should expand at the same time, and parking should be added, the study by HVS Consultants said.
In May, Stillman said that would meanat least 51 new rooms and about 3,000 square feet of ballroom/meeting room space.
Tinley Park would pay for convention center expansion and the new maintenance and capital improvement agreement with money from an existing special taxing district, which ends in 2017. That means the village has less than 10 years to expand its unique venue that attracted more than 531,000 visitors and hosted about 2,200 events last year.
Trustee Patrick Rea wants HVS Consultants to interview the remaining owners of the hotel management team so the village can start building the expanded center. He hopes to break ground this fall, at the latest next spring.
"We want to make sure that the management is as good as it has been, and we're hoping that it is," Rea said.
Plus, he estimates construction will create new jobs in a slumping economy. He promised the village 1,000 new jobs this year during an annual Tinley Park business breakfast in May.
"That convention center by itself will provide hundreds," Rea said.
As the village contemplates spending millions on an expanded venue, trustees have decided to build an outdoor pavilion on the south side of the convention center that could fit up to 300 people for weddings and concerts, among other events. The pavilion is estimated to cost up to $300,000 and would be paid for with revenue from the village's hotel/motel tax.
Tinley Park officials also aim to spend $2.9 million for five acres of vacant land along 183rd Street near Convention Center Drive in case the village expands the convention center and needs more parking.