The Hoffman Estates village board granted a special use permit Monday for the new Gigi's Playhouse national headquarters, planned to be triple the size of organization's current center on Golf Road.
The future Gigi's Playhouse National Achievement Center will stretch across 10,000 square feet at 2350A W. Higgins Road, inside an existing space at the Barrington Square Town Center.
The playhouse is a learning and therapeutic center for children with Down syndrome and their families. Since the organization launched in 2003 at 1069 W. Golf Road, Gigi's has expanded to 14 locations, with 13 around the U.S. and one in Mexico.
Construction for the new center will begin in the next few weeks, said Paul Gianni, the husband of Gigi's founder Nancy Gianni, who was unable to attend the meeting. The Golf Road facility will be shut down after the new center opens Oct. 27.
About 8,000 square feet of the new facility will include space for a life skills training program, a gym, a multipurpose room and offices for the organization's national headquarters.
A retail store will fill the remaining 2,000 square feet, where students from the new Gigi's University program will learn job skills through an internship program. The university will be for adults with Down syndrome, focusing on confidence, health and whole self. The retail store, called Hugs & Mugs, will teach interns about all facets necessary to run a successful shop.
A special use permit for the retail store will be requested after the 8.000-square-foot section is done, Paul Gianni said.
The new facility will offer more space and new opportunities for the group and the people it serves, he added. Employees at the Golf Road center deal with cramped office spaces, which are virtually unshielded from playroom noise. About 70 children are split between two playrooms.
"(Monday) we basically got the blessing from the village," he said. "It feels good to know that the village has our back."
The new center is expected to cost $700,000 to $750,000. About $250,000 has been raised so far. To donate to the project, go to gigisplayhouse.org/buildingadream or contact Marc Portugal at (312) 371-2660.