Now the rebuilding can begin at AT&T campus in Hoffman Estates

The planned transformation of the former AT&T office campus in Hoffman Estates into a self-contained community named Bell Works will soon move from the interior demolition phase to new interior construction.

Village board members Monday unanimously granted permission for this next step in Somerset Development's creation of a second “metroburb” like its namesake in Holmdel, New Jersey.

Monday's approval specifically allows renovation of the interior lobby and atrium space, as well as construction of 32,462 square feet of speculative office space and 2,000 square feet of retail or restaurant space on the main floor of the central building at 2000 Center Drive.

Preparations for parking and service functions also will be made on the lower level.

The first phase of new office construction is expected to be complete in the spring of 2020. Only a small amount of convenience retail is planned for this phase.

Somerset closed on its purchase of the 150-acre, three-building campus last March. The firm still plans to sell some of the land adjacent to the main building to another developer for the construction of 380 multifamily residential units and 170 townhouses.

Though the number of both types of housing is allowed to vary by 8%, the total number of units cannot exceed 550.

Somerset officials have said much of the estimated $116 million redevelopment would occur within the 1.6 million square feet of office space already on the campus, though the residential component and a possible hotel would require new buildings.

The project, intended to combine housing, offices, stores, restaurants and entertainment venues, is expected to take five to seven years. The village board has approved a tax-increment finance district as an economic incentive for only the commercial part.

A TIF district freezes the amount of property taxes local governments receive at the level of its first year. As property values increase, additional taxes go to a fund to pay for public improvements, for up to 23 years.

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