Arlington Heights mayor: 'Vibrant' business climate in village
Arlington Heights Village President Tom Hayes says the local business climate is strong, evidenced by a number of businesses that are expanding and relocating in the village.
More than 100 businesses both large and small have come to town so far this year, occupying some 600,000 square feet of commercial and industrial space, and bringing with them nearly 2,300 jobs, Hayes reported Wednesday morning during a State of the Village address.
But he also says he gets a "gut feel" that things are going well.
"I'm not a business person. I'm not a politician. I consider myself a public servant," Hayes said. "I'm out there in the community and I just get the sense that the business climate in Arlington Heights is very vibrant and very strong."
One business opening soon is 25N Coworking, a work and meeting space on the first floor of the One Arlington residential tower, part of the Arlington Downs development on Euclid Avenue.
Hayes highlighted it as a case study in the village's business attraction efforts, which include attending trade shows, working with a network of brokers, advertising in trade journals, and offering sales tax and Class 6B tax incentives.
Other major new businesses include the 160,000-square-foot North American headquarters of HSBC at 1421 W. Shure Drive, and the 150,000-square-foot Lexus of Arlington dealership at 1510 W. Dundee Road -- the largest Lexus dealer in North America.
There are 10 new restaurants that have opened their doors, including Big Ange's Eatery and Arlington Ale House, while others, such as Mago Grill & Cantina and Egg Harbor Cafe, have expanded.
Arlington Heights' office space vacancy rate is 16.3 percent, compared to 22.3 percent in the Northwest suburbs as a whole.
The village retail vacancy rate is 7.1 percent, compared with 9.2 percent in the Northwest suburbs.
"We do see some vacant storefronts. Some of that can't be prevented," Hayes said. "We're trying to do whatever we can to keep those occupied."
Business initiatives planned for the year ahead include: putting together a downtown entertainment market research plan to further enhance the area as an entertainment and dining hub, conducting a business retention survey, and partnering with the chamber on retaining small businesses.
While speaking about new businesses in town, Hayes gave a nod to the past, offering condolences on the death of 99-year-old Vern Hagenbring, who ran the iconic family-owned Hagenbring's store that anchored the downtown for 75 years. It was fitting that Hayes' speech to local business leaders was at Metropolis Ballroom, on the site of the former store.
"I want to remember him and his family for all he did for this community," said Hayes, who grew up on the same block as the Hagenbring family. "It was a family-run business that dedicated their lives not only to their business, but this community."
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