Expect the already-major Arlington Downs development project to grow a bit larger in 2014, and residents will start to see big changes at the site of the former Sheraton Chicago Northwest Hotel in Arlington Heights.
The former 400-room Sheraton, just west of Arlington International Racecourse, closed in 2009 and now is the site of a $250 million multiuse redevelopment that will include residential, retail, restaurants, a hotel and a water park.
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Work began on the project in 2013, but developers will be back in front of the village board early this year to get approval for slight changes because of a purchase that expands the project, said Bill Enright, deputy director of planning and community development.
The purchase, an additional two acres added on to the 25-acre project, will allow developers to reconfigure the location of a new hotel to be built on the site and allow more room for restaurant retail space to be built on-site.
The additional two acres sits at the corner of Rohlwing and Salt Creek Lane and was a former one-story office building that was at least 35 years old and had several vacancies, Enright said.
"It had been hard to lease up for years and we don't see any issues with that parcel coming into the project. Overall, it will be a bigger benefit for the area to bring that into Arlington Downs," he said. "This gives them more room for restaurants and brings more land into the total project."
Enright said he knows developers have been in talks with several restaurants, but no names of specific eateries coming to the site have been released yet.
Aside from the new land, 2014 will be a busy year for what is likely to be one of the largest redevelopment projects in the Northwest suburbs.
Work is ongoing on the former Sheraton hotel, transforming the building into luxury apartments, which Enright said developers hope to begin leasing by this summer.
"They are on a very aggressive schedule right now and things are moving forward quite well," he said.
In September, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced that a new Four Points by Sheraton with 161 guest rooms would be built on the site and is scheduled to open late this year as well.
Later phases of the project will also include an expanded water park, restaurants, retail shops and a second luxury apartment tower.
"With such a large project there are going to be some changes here or there over time," Enright said. "But, this recent idea to reposition the hotel and bring in more property is a good one."