Schaumburg poised to approve Motorola redevelopment pact
On a day Motorola Solutions announced 200 job cuts in the Chicago area, Schaumburg trustees voted 5-1 to recommend approval of a reimbursement agreement for the proposed $80 million redevelopment of the telecommunication company's remaining presence in the village.
The agreement passed Tuesday and scheduled for final approval on Dec. 13 would gradually reimburse Motorola $27 million -- a third of its investment -- for the renovation of the two buildings it plans to keep on what was recently its 277-acre global headquarters.
The money would come from the area's tax-increment financing district, out of property taxes paid by the company itself but not going to local governments.
In exchange, Motorola plans to keep 1,600 employees on the campus, withdraw its tax appeals on the site for three particular years, and allow the village to design and build a new road through the property.
Motorola, which is signing a minimum 13-year-lease on the property it used to own, also will allow overflow parking from the Schaumburg Convention Center for three weekend events each year.
But the agreement was not without controversy. Village Trustee Tom Dailly cast the sole vote against the recommendation because he wanted stronger restrictions against Motorola reducing its workforce on the campus significantly below the promised 1,600 employees.
"I think we're making a mistake," Dailly said. "Motorola has a track record of cutting jobs. There's no way I can agree to this."
Dailly spoke even more bluntly to company representatives at the committee meeting.
"Quite frankly, I don't believe you'll be here in 13 years," he said. "Motorola will be gone."
The company did agree to employment restrictions in the agreement, which state that the annual TIF reimbursement would fall to half during any year the number of employees falls below 1,100. The reimbursement would disappear completely in any year there are fewer than 650 employees.
Dailly's suggestion that the reimbursement drop by 10 percent for every 100 employees Motorola falls below 1,600 was rejected by company officials as not allowing it the necessary flexibility to run its business.
Village Manager Brian Townsend said the agreement still serves both parties well.
"Even if they downsize again and end up with 1,100 employees, 1,100 employees is still a lot to be based in the village of Schaumburg," he said.
At the rate the village expects to collect money in the TIF district, it will take 20 years for Motorola to be reimbursed $27 million even if it remains eligible.
The village's attorney pointed out that the agreement would remain valid if Motorola left as long as it found a replacement tenant for the site willing to live by the same restrictions -- including the target of 1,600 employees.