NORTH CHICAGO, Ill.–A Chicago based developer has announced a plan to build a $43 million dollar Navy museum in North Chicago.
The “Navyseum” would be interactive and cater mostly to families– featuring indoor skydiving, restaurants, and a brewery. It is expected to open in 2019 and serve more than 500,000 customers annually.
The man behind the project is Ronald Lanz, a Chicago based developer who previously served as North Chicago’s Economic Development Director.
The Navyseum will be located at the Sheridan Crossing, just half a mile from the Navy Base public access gate. The city of North Chicago has been buying and preparing the 40 acres that comprise the Sheridan Crossing for 10 years. The area has seen much development recently, including The National Museum of the American Sailor which Lanz commissioned in 2016. Reportedly, the site will also include a 100-room hotel, retail stores, and a movie theater.
The city’s current Economic Development Director, Victor Barrera, hopes that this development will increase tourism from Navy families within North Chicago. The Navy base provides a significant market for revenue, with approximately 32,000 people on the base every day and 100,000 visitors every year for graduations. However, Navy members and their families have historically spent money on hotels and restaurants in neighboring communities rather than North Chicago.
According to the 2015 Comprehensive Plan, “This perception of North Chicago as a weaker retail market in a competitive retail environment is something that City staff has come up against in previous efforts to lure retailers to North Chicago.” The report also found that “approximately 6 percent of North Chicago consists of vacant land.” Additionally, “community members feel that the City’s vacant parcels are a major redevelopment opportunity, citing vacant buildings in residential neighborhoods and significant development sites along major arterials, such as Sheridan Crossing.”
Sheridan Crossing can help bring vital jobs and tax revenue to the community and prevent them from having to raise property taxes. So far it seems that the city’s efforts are having a positive effect. According to the Chicago Tribune, a recent study found that North Chicago is the second best small American city to start a business in.