The owners of Hamilton Lakes Business Park in Itasca are considering building high-end apartments on some of the roughly 3 million square feet of space available at the site.
Hamilton Lakes officials spoke with village leaders this month because the measure would require Itasca to grant zoning changes shifting some of the park from office space to residential.
Nicole Aranas, community development director, said officials are amending Itasca's comprehensive plan, which has a special component dealing specifically with Hamilton Lakes and potential impacts of the planned Elgin-O'Hare Expressway expansion.
"This was something that could be discussed as part of that," she said. "It was a very preliminary discussion, though."
Hamilton Lakes partner Ron Lunt said the idea to build apartments was inspired by several factors, including the soft market for office development. The site also attracts roughly 10,000 workers a day, and apartments could appeal to those who want to live closer to work, Lunt said.
"I just thought it was time to investigate the alternative," he said. "Most villages in the past, for different reasons, have not liked apartments because I think most people think of them as transient. But now with the housing market as it is, there are a lot of people who would rather rent than own, and we thought this idea might help the overall project."
Lunt said Hamilton Lakes officials envision high-end apartments with stainless steel appliances, stone countertops and studio, 1- and 2-bedroom options.
They are eyeing up to 10 acres on Pierce Road for the development. Once the Elgin-O'Hare expansion happens, Lunt said the plan calls for a connector road from Pierce to Park Boulevard, and the apartments would be at the end of that road, visible from Thorndale Avenue.
Based on preliminary discussions, Lunt says the group will move forward with more research and "fine-tune" a plan he hopes will be complete before the end of this year.
If the plan goes well, he said, Hamilton Lakes officials might aim to break ground in spring, but he knows Itasca officials would need to approve some major zoning changes first.
Hamilton Lakes is controlled by a master regional office center development plan, which dictates which sites are available for development. It also stipulates the type of use for each site, the number of floors for each building, and total square footage available for construction on each site and within the park as a whole.