Arlington Heights officials on Monday approved a changes to the multimillion dollar Arlington Downs redevelopment project, but voiced concerns about the plan that now includes only one hotel and fewer parking spots.
The now 27-acre project will include luxury apartments, a water park, restaurants and retail, but now one hotel -- a Four Points by Sheraton -- rather than two originally planned. Developers also rearranged the plan to place the hotel at the northernmost corner of the site, on the recently acquired two acres at the corner of Rohlwing Road and Salt Creek Lane.
The proposed Four Points by Sheraton hotel will have 161 rooms. Initial plans called for two hotels with as many as 300 total rooms, said Gary Wendt, with Argent Group, a developer on the project.
The six-story hotel will include banquet facilities, a swimming pool and fitness center, he said.
"It just proved out to be not feasible," Wendt said of the two hotel plan.
Developers will wind up saving money because they no longer need to build a two-story underground parking structure to support all of the extra users from a second hotel, he added.
Trustee Joe Farwell said he has been paying attention to the number of hotel rooms included in the project over the past few years.
"From a village's point of view, hotel tax revenue goes right to the general fund and helps offset property tax. It's a number that I've been watching waiver kind of a lot," he said.
Although the village board approved the changes to the site plan, several trustees also expressed concerns about parking. Because of some rearranging, developers said one area of the project has a 120-spot parking deficit.
"I get a little bit nervous about the parking deficits," said Trustee John Scaletta. "When I hear a deficit of 120 spaces, it is of great concern."
Charles Perkins, director of planning and community development, said there are several conditions built into the Arlington Downs plan to alleviate those issues, such as building land banked parking, offering valet parking, providing off-site parking for employees or building more spaces.
"The last thing we want is for the village to be penalizing you because it's a great success, but there's not enough parking," Scaletta said. "We're going to be watching, because this has to be a success for you and this has to be a success for the village in order for it to thrive."
Developers said that because of the shared parking plan, not all spots will often be filled at once.
"There are different peaks, different uses," said traffic engineer Steve Corcoran.
He noted that the hotel will be busiest overnight, while the water park and restaurants will be used in the day and evening hours.
The deficit would become a problem if the both the hotel and its banquet facility, along with the water park, were more than two-thirds full at the same time. "We don't see that being a day-to-day problem," Corcoran said.
As developers gained approval for the changes, other parts of the large Arlington Downs project are still moving ahead. The former Sheraton Hotel is being transformed into a luxury apartment tower with 214 studio, one and two-bedroom apartments. The tower, renamed One Arlington, began leasing last week.