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Hazel Crest agrees to annex Calumet Country Club

This story is the first in a series.

Hazel Crest trustees voted to annex Calumet Country Club while being nearly drowned out by a loud chorus of objections and demands to be heard from activists and residents opposed to the move.

The annexation question took only a few minutes early in the Feb. 14  meeting, but a sometimes rambunctious crowd and numerous speakers during the public comment section of the ageneda stretched it to more than 90 minutes.

The annexation of the historic golf course adds nearly 130 acres to the village, land that from 1980 to 2021 was part of Homewood. Homewood was forced to disconnect the property because village officials refused to approve plans for industrial redevelopment.

Calumet Country Club was founded in 1901. It developed the course on 175th Street in 1917.

Calumet Country Club is situated just south of Interstate 80/294, west of Dixie Highway
and north of 175th Street. (Google satellite image)

The previous property owner, CCC Investors, initiated a lawsuit to force disconnection from Homewood because village officials would not approve the plan for industrial redevelopment. The Homewood village board attempted to keep the property in the village in order to retain some local control, entering into a settlement agreement in January 2021 with the new owner, Diversified Partners, headed by Walt Brown of Scottsdale, Arizona.

After trustees denied the firm’s rezoning request in March 2021, the village was required by the agreement to formally disconnect the country club site.

Following disconnection from Homewood in April 2021, the land was in unincorporated Cook County, where the infrastructure requirements and financial incentives necessary for the project were not available.

With the land now included in Hazel Crest, Brown and developer Catalyst Consulting can proceed with a proposal to redevelop the property as a commercial/industrial complex

A screenshot from a video animation showing Catalyst Consulting’s concept for the redevelopment of Calumet Country Club into a commerical/recreational/industrial complex. (Provided image/Catalyst Consulting)

The property will be designated R-0 residential zoning, the village’s most restrictive zone type. The redevelopment project will require a zoning change. Catalyst partners have said they plan to develop a planned unit development agreement that specifies the uses they hope to develop.

The plan developed and proposed by Catalyst calls for about 1 million square feet of warehousing in the center of the site, with a variety of other uses surrounding the warehouses, including an aquaponics facility, a National Association of Minority Contractors training center, hotel, a condominium complex, a sports stadium, water park and walking trails. 

Jerry Lewis, a Catalyst managing partner, said the firm plans to start the project by developing the aquaponics facility.

SSG continues to oppose the current version of the plan, which would have more warehousing square footage than Brown’s 2021 plan but less truck traffic, according to Catalyst. SSG maintains that replacing the greenspace of the country club with commercial and industrial uses will threaten the health and wellbeing of residents in the area and could increase flooding. 

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