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January 10, 2011 
Who Needs a Casino?

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The Village of Rosemont broke ground last week on a new 200k SF entertainment district called The Park at Rosemont that will have almost everything a resident would want to do on a weekend: bowling, bars, music venues, a Muvico around the corner, and outdoor concert and farmers' market space. The one thing it won't have: a casino.
Park of Rosemont rendering
The space at 9501 Devon Ave was a potential for Illinois' tenth and final casino license until 2008, when it was assigned down the street to Des Plaines. Still, late mayor Donald Stephens hired Sierra Group US to lease up the space to resemble a vibrant downtown area. Sierra CEO Marc Offit has already pre-leased about 90% of the space to Kings Bowling, Landsdowne Pub, and Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, along with some other tenants he can't mention yet (hint: you'll be able to get drinks from around the world in Rosemont soon). The $40M project is adjacent to a 3,500-car parking garage, and Marc expects it will draw consumers from at least a 15-mile radius.
Sierra Groups Marc Offit
The architect, Design Collective, made sure the space had a more urban feel with brick and exposed steel. Northern Builders is teaming up with DNR Rosemont to build the structures. The buildings will surround a park that's being used for ice skating this winter but will have several more purposes—from art shows to music venues—as it's built out. The project is meant to bring more consumers to the suburb, typically seen as a convention and business destination because of it's proximity to O'Hare.

New Year, New CREW
Collete English-Dixon and Natutsa Mabwa
It's time now for some holi-done parties. CREW kicked off the new year at The Gage on Michigan Ave. Prudential Real Estate Advisors Collete English-Dixon is the new president of the 8,000-member national CREW Network and says she's going to be working on professional development initiatives for women, as well as helping build the CREW Foundation. McCaffery Interest's Nasutsa Mabwa is working on the new Lakeside Development Master Plan on the south side, which just opened its marketing center last month.
Solomon Cordwell Buenz's Karen Vaccarello, Shepard Schwartz & Harris' Mary Fuller and Circle Realty Advisors' Jean Meilinger
We snapped Solomon Cordwell Buenz's Karen Vaccarello, Shepard Schwartz & Harris' Mary Fuller, and Circle Realty Advisors' Jean Meilinger catching up at the event. Circle Realty Advisors recently moved to a new office at Cumberland Metro Center and took over management of a 98k SF office/warehouse in Schaumburg.
Fidelity National Title's Mary Ammerman and Michelle Owens
Fidelity National Title Insurance's Mary Ammerman was celebrating her second day on the job with colleague Michelle Owens. Michelle says she's seeing many more non-distressed sales, especially in multifamily markets around Chicago.
Lynn Reich and Goldie Wolfe Miller
Legendary real estate women: Colliers International's Lynn Reich and Millbrook Corporate Real Estate's Goldie Wolfe Miller tell us they've both worked in the industry for more than 30 years. The two met at Rubloff in the '70s, where Lynn says she someday aspired to be like Goldie.

Mart Hires New VP
The Merchandise Mart's 400k SF of 125 gift showrooms will have a new manager. Nancy Michael joins the MMPI team from tag, a gift wholesaler. The gift showrooms provide store owners with wholesale products in an ever-growing variety of categories from stationery to books, and candles to home décor. Nancy will be in charge of coordinating marketing efforts, working with leasing, and organizing shows for the Chicago, LA, and NY marts. While the gift industry has been on the decline during the recession, the showrooms are almost all leased and preparing for the Gift Market, which will take place later this month, Nancy says.

What's the big idea? Tell Maureen Wilkey, maureen@bisnow.com.

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