Orland Park bowling alley eyed for area’s first Tesla dealership

Orland Bowl, a longtime entertainment fixture in Orland Park, would be converted to a Tesla vehicle dealership under plans endorsed this week by the village’s Plan Commission.

Developer SDP Orland Park intends to renovate the property at 8601 W. 159th St., and the Plan Commission at its meeting Tuesday voted to recommend approval of plans by the Village Board.

The board could take up the matter at its June 20 meeting.

Officers of SDP include Patrick Daly, principal of The Daly Group in Oak Brook, a real estate development company.

The company is the master developer for Wind Creek Hospitality’s casino and hotel project on a site in East Hazel Crest and Homewood.

The nearly 6-acre Orland Park property includes the bowling alley and Mickadoon’s Pub, which closed recently.

Tesla has dealerships in Chicago as well as the suburbs, including Elk Grove Village, Highland Park, Lisle, Schaumburg and Westmont.

Heather Macfie, Tesla’s construction project manager, said at the Plan Commission meeting she has high hopes for the planned Orland Park location, which would be Tesla’s first dealership in the southwest suburbs.

“I think this will be one of our best in the Midwest” as far as sales performance, she said.

Apple Chevrolet in Tinley Park is directly to the east of the proposed Tesla dealership, and the Crystal Creek condominium community is to the south.

The property Tesla would occupy isn’t necessarily zoned for a car dealership under Orland Park’s land use plans, so Tesla is seeking an exception from municipal officials. But village staff noted Tuesday that car sales would not be an unusual use for the site.

The stretch of 159th through Orland Park and Tinley Park is home to dealerships representing vehicle nameplates including Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Kia, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Subaru.

Due to the nature of the all-electric vehicle, the Tesla dealership would differ from others along the auto row, according to David Sosin, an attorney representing the SDP who spoke at the meeting.

Specifically, the service area would not be handling some of the typical vehicle maintenance jobs such as oil changes.

The electric vehicles “have very few moving parts,” he said.

A chain-link fence that now surrounds a portion of the Orland Bowl property would be replaced with a 6-foot wood fence on the property’s south and west sides, Sosin said.

The developer is not seeking financial assistance from the village, such as sharing of sales tax revenue, the attorney said.

Plan Commission members were enthusiastic about plans for the dealership, which would use the existing 50,000-square-foot building that would be renovated, Sosin said.

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“I think it’s a great plan, I like it,” Commissioner John Nugent said.

Commission Chairman Nick Parisi said he is “happy to see them coming to Orland Park.”

The bowling alley is scheduled to close around the middle of this month.

Orland Bowl was opened in August 1978, but the site was originally planned to be a banquet hall, according to the owners.

Brothers Mike and Eugene Halleran owned banquet halls in Evergreen Park and Oak Lawn, and bought the Orland Park property in 1974 with the intention of building another banquet facility, according to the Orland Bowl website.

But demand for banquets was not there, so they built a bowling alley with 32 lanes, which expanded to 50 lanes in 1983, according to the website.

mnolan@tribpub.com

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