Arlington Heights officials on Monday approved a plan to demolish a large building on the former Nokia Siemens property at the north end of the village as the new owners look to redesign the campus and make it more appealing to prospective tenants.
Torburn Partners Inc., bought the 1.1 million-square-foot campus from Nokia Siemens in June for just under $30 million. The new owners entered into a 12-year lease for one of the five buildings on the 64-acre site to house 1,200 Nokia employees that will move from the rest of the campus to that building after a $15 million renovation is completed.
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Meanwhile, Torburn -- a Northbrook-based real estate company -- is working on remaking the campus, which is visible from Route 53 near Dundee Road, to attract tenants for the other hundreds of square feet of empty office space.
Part of those changes included demolishing a building at 1475 Cellular Drive in the fall to add green space and parking to the campus, as well as newer plans that were approved on Monday to demolish a second building at 1441 Cellular Drive, according to village documents.
The village voted unanimously to repeal two previous ordinances that allowed the 105,000-sqauare-foot building to be built.
According to a letter from Torburn, demolishing the building is "an effort to improve the marketability of the campus within the oversaturated and stubbornly high, vacancy-filled Northwest suburban office market."
The letter states that without this building, Torburn will be able to market the campus for multiple tenants instead of just for single-company use.
Further changes to reposition the campus or construct new buildings would need to go through design commission approval and the village board approval process, Village Manager Bill Dixon said.
"Removal of the (building) will enable large, multinational prospective tenants of the campus to better visualize and understand the campus's full potential and the associated tenant opportunities that the campus may present," the letter from Torburn stated.
Several board members said they were glad to approve the building's demolition even though there are not concrete plans for the campus in place yet.
"This enables them to essentially have a clean slate for exploring what they may want to do," Dixon said.
Trustee Jim Tinaglia praised the quick approval of the plan.
"It's a good way for us as a village to work with these folks and get them moving along without spending weeks and months going through the process," Tinaglia said. "I'm completely in favor of it."