Arlington Heights proposes TIF district to give southern entryway a glow-up

Arlington Heights officials have proposed setting up what would become the sixth tax increment financing district in the village's history to help rejuvenate the southern entryway to town.

The economic development tool - in which property taxes above a certain point would be funneled into public and private projects instead of local governments like schools, parks and the library - is proposed for a 65-acre area along Arlington Heights Road, from the Jane Addams Tollway to Seegers Road.

The district would primarily encompass properties fronting the east side of Arlington Heights Road, such as the Arlington Executive Court office complex, Holiday Inn Express hotel and Mitsuwa Marketplace, and would also include several properties on the southeast corner of Arlington Heights and Algonquin roads, where a developer has proposed building a town center concept of commercial and residential uses.

The TIF proposal, unveiled during a village board meeting Monday night, is one more step in a multiyear effort to revitalize an area that includes empty office buildings and vacant land, but that village officials believe is primed for redevelopment.

In 2018, the village published a 50-page South Arlington Heights Road Corridor Plan that recommended a host of improvements, from installing landscaped medians to relocating sidewalks 8-10 feet away from curbs, among other suggestions to upgrade the area's aesthetics and walkability.

Last year, the village board loosened zoning standards on 17 acres of the southeast Arlington Heights/Algonquin corner with an eye toward creating the town center - including multifamily homes, entertainment, restaurants, offices and a hotel - with density that could mirror the village's downtown.

Bradford Allen, a Chicago-based commercial real estate firm that owns several properties on the corner and is working with a master developer, indicated that TIF assistance could be helpful in making the project come to fruition, according to Village Manager Randy Recklaus.

Money generated by the special taxing tool could help pay for an estimated $80 million in redevelopment project costs throughout the entire 65-acre area, such as the pedestrian and aesthetic enhancements suggested in the 2018 corridor plan, village officials said.

While village officials since that time have floated the possibility of a TIF as a funding source, it wasn't until the board meeting Monday that it became a bona fide proposal. As part of the consent agenda, the board approved setting a public hearing on the TIF proposal for 7:30 p.m. April 15 at village hall.

"We wanted a vision for our southern corridor, and wanted to make sure the village is doing everything it can," Recklaus said.

A joint review board composed of representatives of local government taxing bodies in the proposed district is also scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. March 18 at village hall.

The village board could consider an ordinance to set up the district in early May.

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