Rosemont to sell Fogo de Chão restaurant space for $7.3 million, if Big Ten OKs deal
Rosemont has a tentative deal to sell the portion of an entertainment district building housing the popular Fogo de Chão restaurant for more than $7 million.
But the Big Ten Conference, which occupies the majority of the three-story brick building next to the Tri-State Tollway, has less than a month to exercise a right of first refusal in case it wants to purchase the restaurant space.
The village board Monday morning authorized Mayor Brad Stephens to sign a letter of intent for sale of the 11,000-square-foot first floor space to a still-undisclosed investor for $7,375,350. Village officials informed the college athletic conference of the pending deal last Friday; the Big Ten’s option expires 30 days later.
Big Ten officials Monday afternoon confirmed they were notified about the proposed sale, but didn’t say whether they’d be interested in purchasing the rest of the building.
“The conference is reviewing its right of first refusal, and will make a decision in the best interest of its member institutions,” officials said in a statement.
Stephens said the Big Ten might not exercise its option because that could affect the conference’s nonprofit status if it becomes landlord to the restaurant.
The Brazilian steakhouse pays the village $400,000 a year in rent and at least 1% in taxes from its $12 million to $14 million in annual sales. Even during the pandemic, the restaurant did well, Stephens said, and is one of the top tax-generating eateries in Rosemont.
The conference moved its headquarters to the three-story, 50,000-square-foot building in September 2013, right around the same time the steakhouse opened.
In a deal that resembled a condo agreement, the village agreed to transfer most of the property to the Big Ten while retaining the space occupied by the restaurant. That allowed the village to lease the 11,000-square-foot restaurant space to generate revenue. The village also kept a portion of the building to be used as office space for management of the entertainment district, which is now called Parkway Bank Park.
The village, which opened the 200,000-square-foot complex in 2012, has been selling individual parcels in recent years — generally to the businesses that have been leasing those spaces.
Next month, the village board is set to sign off on a deal to sell Five Roses Pub and neighboring Kings Dining & Entertainment bowling alley to the ownership group that runs both businesses. The owner also plans to shut down the Irish pub and introduce a Mediterranean restaurant in its place, Stephens said.
A different group is interested in purchasing the iFly indoor skydiving property, he said. That would leave buildings housing Bub City, Joe’s Live, Zanies comedy club and Park Tavern under village control.