“Now Rosemont pretty much has everything people need,” Stephens said. “There is no need to go to downtown Chicago.”
That’s essentially been the philosophy of Rosemont since its incorporation in 1956. The village covers only 2.5 square miles. But it’s blessed with being at the center of a transportation hub. It’s in the shadows of O’Hare International Airport. It stands at the convergence of I-90 and I-294. And it has a stop on the CTA’s Blue Line el.
Donald Stephens’ ambition was to convince travelers to O’Hare that they didn’t need to go to Chicago. So he built hotels and restaurants, the Donald A. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont Horizon (now Allstate Arena), Rosemont Theatre, Rosemont Stadium for softball, Muvico 18, a movie multiplex, and MB Financial Park, a de-facto town square filled with restaurants and entertainment venues, including a bowling alley and ice skating rink…
Beyond a great location, Rosemont made the decision early on that it wanted to attract commercial development, said Steve Hovany, president of Strategy Planning Association, a Schaumburg-based real estate consulting firm.
This sounds like a classic case of the political economy model for urban growth. One key family, now spanning two separate mayors, made decisions alongside business and local leaders to pursue economic growth. They made use of an existing advantage in the community, being located near transportation options, and attracted new opportunities. The only piece missing from the article is some explanation from the leaders themselves why they did all of this. Just to put Rosemont on the map? Or, to make money for leaders as well as the community who then benefits quite a bit from property and sales taxes (items many suburbs wish they had).