Why Schaumburg might change site of convention center parking deck
Schaumburg officials have opted to take another step toward a potential parking deck to serve both the village's convention center and an anticipated entertainment district nearby after some different options, including alternative locations, are added to an early concept plan.
The originally proposed site -- along Meacham Road just north of an existing access road to the convention center campus and south of Thoreau Drive -- came in for the greatest amount of criticism at the village board's recent committee meeting despite being based on certain strategic criteria by staff and consultants.
"I think it's a wrong location," Trustee Tom Dailly told them. "I understand all your reasons, which make good sense."
Staff had chosen the site to reserve room for both a long-considered performing arts center directly west of the convention center's Renaissance Hotel, as well as for the possible northward expansion of the convention center on the east side of the campus.
But Dailly, backed up by others, thought the parking deck would block the view of an entertainment district farther north for northbound motorists on Meacham Road.
He suggested either swapping the site with that being reserved for the performing arts center just to the south or putting it on the eastern side of the campus due to what he considers the low likelihood of the convention center's expansion.
Trustee Frank Kozak endorsed a sense of urgency for the parking deck, both to solve an existing parking crunch during several annual events at the convention center as well as to keep its estimated $30 million to $33 million cost from rising with inflation.
In fact, Kozak suggested the village finally make up its mind on the viability of the estimated $87 million performing arts center and consider using some of the $26 million already saved for it on the parking deck instead.
Trustee Marge Connelly said she liked both the design of the parking deck and the idea of its switching places with the performing arts center. But she wondered how much use it would be to an entertainment district to the north if it became farther away.
Connelly's other concerns included the temporary impact of losing 400 surface parking spaces while the deck is built, as well as poor soil conditions possibly increasing construction costs.
Village Manager Brian Townsend identified a number of potential funding sources including the redevelopment area's tax increment financing district to fund public improvements, the existing savings for the performing arts center, proceeds from the recent sale of village-owned land at the west end of town, the building replacement fund, future parking fees and contributions from developers for their use of the facility.
Townsend cautioned that no single one of these sources would be sufficient and that the funding question would be more difficult if the performing arts center's savings were declared off limits by the village board.
As designed in the concept plan, the six-story deck would provide a total of 1,137 spaces -- a net gain of 737 with the loss of the 400 existing spaces.
The possibility of enlarging the deck to increase the net gain of parking spaces to 1,000 also was raised as the project's consultants from Itasca-based Williams Architects were directed to return to the drawing board.
Townsend said the revised concept plan would likely be ready for further review by the village board in May.