Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson reported on the status of his business-friendly community's recovery from the recession and other pending developments for the year ahead at his annual state-of-the-village address Tuesday morning.
As usual, Larson spoke at the Schaumburg Business Association's monthly breakfast meeting at Chandler's Banquets at the Schaumburg Golf Club.
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Though he touched on conservation and cultural projects as well, Larson knew his audience was most interested in the economic health of the village in which they'd chosen to locate their businesses.
He spoke of "A Tale of Three Woodfields" -- Woodfield Mall and its neighboring shopping centers Woodfield Village Green and Streets of Woodfield. The mall itself has a current vacancy rate of 2.2 percent while "Streets" has 1.5 percent and Village Green 7.4 percent -- rates most communities would consider good even in booming economies, Larson said.
Furthermore, $87 million was paid to the village for building permits in 2012, compared to only $66 million in 2011, he said.
The village's car dealerships -- which sold a third as many cars as those in all of Chicago before the recession -- have also bounced back. Only one dealership was lost during the downturn and that's because it moved to Hoffman Estates for more space in an expansion, Larson said.
"It's still a vibrant part of our sales tax revenue," he said of car sales.
The presence of the Renaissance Hotel and convention center has also turned Meacham Road into Schaumburg's own restaurant row, Larson said. But the village wants to help the area along even more by creating a tax-increment finance district to spur further redevelopment and help pay the village's share toward a tollway off-ramp.
"That's vital, I think, to the whole area north of the convention center," Larson said.
The village is partnering with other agencies for road congestion improvements at the intersection of Schaumburg and Barrington roads and hoping to soon build a long-awaited right-turn lane on southbound Roselle Road at Schaumburg Road.
These are projects intended to make Schaumburg even more attractive to businesses and their customers -- a reason more than 200 new businesses moved to the village in 2012, Larson said.
And village officials expect a groundbreaking this year for the Pleasant Square subdivision consisting of 10 single-family homes and 100 townhouses at the northwest corner of Schaumburg and Roselle roads.
Though the village also hopes to one day resume its program of burying power lines -- which has proved effective in reducing weather-related outages -- for now the expense of controlling the spread of the tree-killing emerald ash borer and dealing with increased water rates from Chicago are tying up once available funds, Larson said.