Hoffman Estates studying tax incentive for redevelopment southeast of Barrington Road tollway interchange

As Hoffman Estates' first special taxing district to spur redevelopment, at the southeast corner of Higgins and Barrington roads, is expiring after it was extended to 35 years, the village is considering another on 113 acres to make the most of the new full interchange at Interstate 90 and Barrington Road just to the northwest.

The village board recently approved an $18,250 contract with Evanston-based Teska Associates to continue its study of the area bordered by Stonington Avenue, Pembroke Avenue and Hassell Road to see if it's eligible for that type of tax incentive.

The consultant so far has identified deterioration, excessive vacancies and code violations as conditions that could qualify the area as a conservation tax-increment financing district.

Hoffman Estates Economic Development Director Kevin Kramer said Teska also has found the area's collective property value is not increasing at the same rate as the village as a whole.

Consideration of a TIF district is a further step from an improvement and redevelopment plan approved last summer based on a study by Chicago-based consultant Farr Associates.

That plan, which includes a total of 950 acres, recognizes the new Pace Suburban Bus terminal at the tollway interchange as an opportunity to create a transit-oriented development with more residential density.

Possible places include the north side of Hassell Road, the existing Northwest Corporate Centre and Barrington Square Town Center, according to the study.

To create a recognizable identity for the area, the existing water tower could be used as a structural canvas to build a brand around, the consultants said.

A TIF district works by freezing the amount of property taxes local governments receive from it at the first year's level. As property values increase, the incremental taxes are set aside in a fund for public improvements within the district.

The normal life span of a TIF district is 23 years, but it can be shorter if public improvements are paid off earlier. The one at the southeast corner of Higgins and Barrington roads received a more unusual 12-year extension by the state Legislature.

All local taxing bodies become members of a joint review board that monitors the progress of the district.

Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod previously opposed a preliminary proposal for a TIF district for the Plum Farms development at the northwest corner of Higgins and Old Sutton roads that would have included all that project's residential aspects.

While he said he still needs to watch the evolution of the new proposed TIF district, McLeod suggested the type of housing in a transit-oriented development typically is for young professionals or empty-nesters rather than the single-family homes anticipated to be a big part of Plum Farms.

"I don't want to cause the school districts a problem," McLeod said. "I don't think transit-oriented development is going to bring in a lot of kids."

In fact, McLeod believes school districts would benefit from the suggested TIF district by having the property values in the area increase without having to provide services for a significantly larger student population.

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Hoffman Estates officials have hired consultants to study the eligibility of the area southeast of the Barrington Road tollway interchange for a tax-increment financing district to spur redevelopment and improvements there. Courtesy of Hoffman Estates
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