Demolition begins at International Plaza in Arlington Heights

Demolition is underway at International Plaza, the blighted, shuttered shopping center on the south side of Arlington Heights, where redevelopment has stalled through more than two decades of litigation, recession and failed development prospects.

Village officials have cited and fined AGOLF LLC, the longtime owner of the plaza on Golf Road just east of Arlington Heights Road, for multiple property code violations. The owner decided to take the buildings down rather than continue to rack up fines, which now total in the tens of thousands of dollars following administrative adjudication hearings in recent months at village hall, officials confirmed.

“We’ve said we’re going to continue to do this, and they decided they’ve had enough,” said Village Manager Randy Recklaus. “It’s a key corridor and it did not meet our aesthetic and code standards.”

  Arlington Heights Village Manager Randy Recklaus said complaints by neighbors over the condition of the former International Plaza led to citations and fines, and eventually, the ongoing demolition of the buildings. Paul Valade/

Bulldozers began the teardown last week in the northeast corner of the sprawling property, but they still have a long way to go.

The owner had already applied for a demolition permit by the time of the September 2023 closing of Burger Baron, which was one of the last businesses in the plaza. Village officials initially gave ownership some leniency because they applied for the permit, but then fines resumed by November since demolition hadn’t begun.

  Demolition equipment arrived at the old International Plaza on Golf Road in Arlington Heights last week. Paul Valade/

Village officials are now in negotiations over a redevelopment agreement with Schaumburg-based developer UrbanStreet Group that would pave the way toward a $100 million residential and commercial transformation of the old shopping center and seven adjoining village-owned parcels. UrbanStreet has the plaza under contract.

The deal would allow the developer to tap into village-controlled tax increment district funds to help subsidize the project. TIF funds have been accumulating in the area since 2002, when property tax payments were frozen at set levels and taxes above that started going to the village instead of schools and other local governments.

Under a memorandum of understanding approved by the village board 7-1 in November, the developer would get $3.3 million from TIF reserves, and a $5.3 million revenue bond and $2.79 million junior note to be paid off from revenues generated from the development.

UrbanStreet’s plan calls for six four-story apartment buildings totaling 266 units to be rented at market rates; a separate building of 37 units of less-expensive, age-restricted senior housing; and as many as four commercial outlots along Golf Road with some 34,000 square feet of space for retail, a restaurant and a day care center.

The project would be subject to review by the advisory housing, design and plan commissions. The village board would have final say.

Recklaus said that approval process and the village board’s consideration of the redevelopment agreement is expected in the next several months.

  Crews are working to tear down the shuttered International Plaza on Golf Road in Arlington Heights. Paul Valade/
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