Photo by Jeff Vorva
The Lexington House will give way to a used car showroom.
It is the end of an era.
The longtime iconic Lexington House Restaurant in Hickory Hills, host of weddings, anniversary parties, bridal and baby showers an even a couple of Bruce Rauner rallies, will soon be home to a new business. Its final even will be held Aug. 24.
The Hickory Hills Council unanimously approved a proposal last Thursday from DriveTime Car Sales Company, LLC., to open a used car showroom on the Lexington House property located 7717 W. 95th St. The company is in process of purchasing the land.
One of the Lexington House owners, Barbara Vuletic, was in attendance to support the project and the sale.
“As hard as it is, our family knows it is time for this decision,'' she said. "Times change and unfortunately, our grandchildren are not inclined to carry on the family business. We are comfortable with the plans proposed by DriveTime for the property.”
The plans, as presented by Attorney Dan Sosin, of Sosin & Arnold, Ltd., in Orland Park, call for considerable changes to the front of the building.
“On average, there will be an inventory of approximately 100 cars at the facility,'' he said. "We will basically be using 40 to 50 percent of the existing building.”
Sosin said the company has the sixth largest volume of used car sales in the country.
“These are reconditioned cars. They are not just acquired and put on a lot, they are extensively reconditioned and then delivered to the showrooms.” he said.
DriveTime Car Sales currently has two locations in Illinois -- Lombard and Schaumburg.
Mayor Mike Howley said that he had visited one of the facilities.
“It was an impressive showroom,” he said.
Howley and Alderman Tom McAvoy asked Sosin about plans for the existing parking lot. “It is in bad shape and needs to be repaired,” said Howley.
Dan Packowski, Managing Director of Real Estate for DriveTime, replied that the company has a standard protocol with their parking lots.
“We make a preliminary survey to see what needs to be repaired and seal-coated, both for appearance and safety,” he said.
Howley and Alderman Deborah Ferraro also expressed concern about the landscaping and aesthetics at the front of the building. Howley told Sosin that the city has a consistent plan for 95th Street.
”We will want to see your plans for the landscaping,” he said.
Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Committee, Syed Imam, told Howley that the committee had met with DriveTime representatives and were satisfied with the proposal as presented.
“It is a good fit for the city.” he said.
Sosin said the company anticipates estimated sales revenue to the city at approximately $100,000 to $200,000 annually. Anticipated opening date is March, 2016
After the vote, Mayor Howley thanked Vuletic and her family for their contributions to Hickory Hills since 1968.
“The Lexington House put Hickory Hills on the map. It is an iconic landmark. It saddens me that it will be gone,'' he said. "It was a rite of passage for teen-age boys to become busboys at the restaurant. In high school, you either worked at the Lexington House, the Sabre Room or the Delphian House.
In other action, a bid was awarded to Hasse Construction Company, Inc., of Calumet City, for drainage improvements on 85th Court, at a cost of $1,816,328.95. Village Engineer, Mike Spolar said the work is expected to start in August.
Also bidding on the project were John Neri Construction Company, Inc., and Riccio Construction Company.