Chatham residents give mixed reviews to $10 million hotel proposal

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Herbert Hedgeman, a south shore businessman, has proposed to build a 90-room, $10 million hotel in the 7600 block of South State St. in Chatham. However, the proposal has received a mixed reaction at a community meeting.

“I have been a part of this community for 70 years and all I am trying to do is jump-start economic development along State Street and bring people into the hospitality industry,” Hedgeman told the crowd of 200 people at St. Dorothy’s Church, repots Dnainfo.com.

The five-story hotel, named Park Manor Inn, will feature a 100-seat restaurant, a community meeting room of 2,900 sq. ft. and 43 parking spaces on a vacant site owned by Hedgeman for 40 years. He hopes to complete the project in five years.

The hotel developer will be Chicago-based East Lake Management & Development Corp. in Bronzeville, while Piekarz Associates P.C. has been selected as the architect. The project requires a zoning change.

“I am not for or against this development plan,” Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) told residents. “I want to hear what (Chatham residents) think about this idea, which is why I organized this meeting. I respect and appreciate Mr. Hedgeman for wanting to spend $10 million of his own money to build something in my ward.”

He said the businessman hasn’t asked for any tax-increment from the city or community incentive.

Some residents objected to the idea, saying the project would affect residential parking and attract more criminal activity in the area, deterring upscale and middle-class travelers.

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