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home : news : local   March 26, 2015

5/22/2013 7:43:00 AM
Kaskaskia developer shares new plan to find investors

This video from the Kaskaskia Hotel project webpage,, provides a history of the hotel and plans for redevelopment.
Kaskaskia Hotel developer Blouke Carus presented to the La Salle City Council on Tuesday a new plan to find foreign investors to support the rehabilitation of the historic downtown La Salle hotel. Even if successful, it would still be a couple years before the hotel is open for business.
NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
+ click to enlarge

Kaskaskia Hotel developer Blouke Carus presented to the La Salle City Council on Tuesday a new plan to find foreign investors to support the rehabilitation of the historic downtown La Salle hotel. Even if successful, it would still be a couple years before the hotel is open for business.

NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
Matthew Baker
Staff Writer

An influx of foreign cash could bring the Kaskaskia Hotel back to life.
Although it may take a couple more years before the doors would open to guests, developer Blouke Carus told the La Salle City Council on Tuesday night that he has a new plan to keep the rehabilitation project moving forward.
That plan revolves around using the federal Immigrant Investor Program, EB-5, to find foreign investors to fund the $15 million project as no significant local investors have come forward. The EB-5 program allows foreign investors to receive a green card if they invest at least $500,000 in a commercial de­velopment that will create 10 jobs in a rural area or an area with high levels of unemployment.
“I’m optimistic that we can find them and market it. But it’s a risk,” Carus said, noting he projects most of the investors would come from China and Latin America.
If Carus can find the roughly 30 investors needed to fund the project, work could likely begin in six months to a year after that point because of time needed for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to perform background checks on the potential investors for security purposes, he said.
Before that can happen, though, Carus needs to receive approval to establish a “regional center,” the entity through which the foreign investments would flow into a project. He said he believes that approval will be given in the next few months.
Once approved, Carus’s regional center would be able to serve as a foreign investment point of contact for other projects throughout La Salle, Bureau and Putnam counties, he said.
“I don’t think anyone could criticize your courage in taking this on,” said Alderman John Duncan before asking whether the building is still in suitable condition to be rehabilitated.
Carus said his architects believe it is.
“It’s basically a very solid structure. It was built very well at the time,” Carus said, adding that he recently had sections of the roof repaired after heavy rains last month caused leaking.
If the project comes to fruition, Carus envisions a four-star hotel that could not only improve the area’s tourism potential, but also serve as a hotel for Carus Corp.’s visiting executives and guests. He said the hotel could also host various high profile seminars and speakers.
Based on a previous feasibility study, the hotel could potentially draw 100,000 “well-to-do people” to the area every year, Carus said.
“I’d like to see half that come,” Mayor Jeff Grove said.
After the presentation, Grove thanked Carus for the small repairs made to the exterior of the building last year and briefly mentioned that a little more could be done.
Carus purchased the deteriorating historic hotel property in downtown La Salle for $1 at auction in 2003.

 Matthew Baker can be reached at (815) 220-6933, or

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Article comment by: METALWORKER

Cheer up guys Our child mayor, I left that box blank, has almost four more years with a hand picked council and his own police on trafic patrol on I80.
Look at the money he will have rolling in from his sand box rev... Oh, right , thats on hold.
But he speny several million on a park, donated a milloin to LP sports complex, spent he and God only know how much on wireless speakers for his beer parties on first and second street.
All in all a quite progressive town witha foward leaning mayor and aldermen. If you don't believe that, why just ask them.
Yea home rule, you voted that in also.

Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Article comment by: Anonymous94934

"According to an independent report projecting a decade, the Port of La Salle’s total economic impact to the County will be valued at $27.87 million, with 41 full-time jobs, over $11.4 million in labor and income, and an impressive $4.55 million in tax revenue. " This is a projection, meaningless b.s. This project was pitched based on what we now know were faulty projections. We are now going to have it justified with information that has not been substantiated. What world are we living in? Where's the real accountability and facts to support the claim that this has had a strong return on investment. I appreciate the ideas and wants they have, but I'm a realist and know that ideas and wants are not the same as results.

Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Article comment by: CRobinson

Now, we're in the business of selling Green Cards. Will it be named Hong Kong Plaza? C'mon Carus, it was your idea so cough up the funding.

Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Article comment by: Anonymous94934

Comical. The building is in horrible shape. Pigeons fly in and out of the broken windows and there's been no heat for several years so you can imagine the damage done to the infrastructure. Besides supporting the I.V. Symphony and Hegelar Carus Mansion I don't see much of a community contribution from Blouke. Personally, I feel he has hijacked the 2nd street block the Kaskaskia is on. Would like to see the city council take a much harder approach with him. Hopefully, in the future they are able to do something with the eyesore. On a side note, wonder how the local Unions will do when the new Chinese owner is looking for contractors to renovate the hotel?? I have to guess we will see "the Rat" inflated outside the building.

Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Article comment by: Anonymous81055

What a joke!!!

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