Upgraded tollway interchange presents opportunities, consultants tell Hoffman Estates

The recent upgrade to a full interchange at the I-90 tollway at Barrington Road in Hoffman Estates, which includes a Pace bus terminal, has increased the land value and development opportunities for the area around it, consultants reported to village officials Monday.

The mayor and trustees heard a preliminary report from Chicago-based Farr Associates based on a yearlong study as well as additional public input received late last week.

"Infrastructure changes have changed the market in this area," said Bridget Lane, an associate of the study.

However, she conceded that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has made for a "cloudy crystal ball" in comparison to the market analysis she can usually provide.

For instance, companies' pursuit of suburban locations rather than in Chicago is a sharp contrast from a year ago, Lane said. The demand for more space per worker - reducing the parking ratio on commercial properties - is also a new development, she added.

While a transportation hub like the new Pace terminal can create a focal point in a community, it's usually not the only thing of interest going on there, Farr Associates Principal Doug Farr said.

Opportunities for improvement are often enabled by forms of public leverage - of which the study itself is an example - that can include zoning and regulation changes, the consultants said.

Farr suggested that finding ways to improve pedestrian access in the area, including to and from the Pace terminal, could create more demand.

He added that the current 40% vacancy in the Northwest Corporate Centre office campus at 2500 W. Higgins Road could create an opportunity for the current surge in the residential market for properties aimed at young workers.

But a letter from the 4.2-acre U-Haul Moving & Storage facility at 2475 Pembroke Ave. stated the company's opposition to the pending plan encouraging its relocation.

Farr told village officials a written draft of his company's plan would be before them in about a month for potential approval in December.

The village board hired Farr Associates for the study a year ago at a cost of $91,615.

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