Old Hoffman Estates bowling alley to be razed, clearing way for redevelopment

The five-year wake for the former, 50-year-old Hoffman Lanes bowling alley on Higgins Road in Hoffman Estates is near its end, as the property's new owner has conceded the vacant building is beyond its useful life and obtained village permission to demolish it.

Representatives of W-T Properties Schaumburg I LLC and Hoffman Estates officials also reached a redevelopment agreement that makes $2.39 million in improvements on and near the site eligible for reimbursement from the area's tax increment financing district.

The improvements would include the $265,900 demolition of the building, storm sewer upgrades affecting at least three neighboring properties, and a 10% contingency for cost increases.

Hoffman Lanes, 80 W. Higgins Road, operated for at least five decades before it abruptly closed during the summer of 2015. When W-T Properties Schaumburg I bought the site three years later, it had hopes of using the existing building for another purpose.

However, plans to convert it into a multi-tenant retail center, as well as a few alternative proposals, were met with little enthusiasm from Hoffman Estates village board members.

Now the property owners believe tearing down the building will improve the 2.7 acres' marketability for a new use.

"It's better to raze the site and start from scratch," said Troy Triphahn, a representative of the owners and also chief operating officer of the Hoffman Estates-based engineering firm WT Group.

The market seems to be calling for some type of automotive use on the property, Triphahn said, but he did not commit to any specific proposal.

"We're not here today to talk about auto uses. We're hear today to make this site marketable." he said at this month's planning, building and zoning committee meeting. "I actually think today is one of the biggest steps we can take to stimulate not just this project but a few different things going on in the area."

The site is temporarily being used to store vehicles for the Zeigler Auto Group, which recently acquired three nearby luxury car dealerships.

Hoffman Estates Director of Development Services Peter Gugliotta said the drainage work outlined in the redevelopment agreement would reduce the flood plain in which the former bowling alley lies. Reimbursement for the work would come from the village's TIF fund for the area.

A TIF district works by freezing the amount of property taxes that local governments collect at the level of the first year. Annual increases above that amount go to a village-held fund for public improvements within the district.

Though this TIF fund will have only $1.1 million in it at the end of 2020, it's expected to generate enough to cover the rest of the sewer work before it expires in 2026, Hoffman Estates Economic Development Director Kevin Kramer said.

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  After a series of redevelopment proposals failed to win support, the owners of the former Hoffman Lanes bowling alley site in Hoffman Estates plan to demolish the building. Eric Peterson/
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