"We want it to feel urban, dense and walkable." Schaumburg OKs Motorola campus plan.
Schaumburg trustees Tuesday signed off on a new zoning district and design parameters for the former Motorola Solutions campus, enabling more citylike projects to begin seeking approval within the planned redevelopment of an area nearly as large as the Chicago Loop.
Though the site may not end up looking exactly like the Loop, the new guidelines allow the 225 acres at the southwest corner of Algonquin and Meacham roads to become surprisingly urban for even a business-friendly suburb like Schaumburg.
"We want it to feel urban, dense and walkable," said the village's Community Development Director Julie Fitzgerald.
While virtually all suburban development is characterized by minimum building setbacks and maximum heights, this redevelopment creates maximum setbacks and no height restrictions except a three-story minimum.
Furthermore, not even one single-family home will be among its residential buildings, Fitzgerald added.
Bob Burk, managing partner of landowner UrbanStreet Group LLC, said it's the mixed-use nature of the plan the new guidelines embrace that's most groundbreaking for a suburb.
"It's an exciting time," Burk said. "It's the culmination of about a year-and-a-half-long process."
The plan envisions a nearly self-contained community of multifamily housing, office buildings, stores, restaurants and entertainment venues.
Two of the biggest pieces of the puzzle, around which the rest are arranged, are a central "Main Street" and a 10-acre park, Fitzgerald said.
The only specific development mentioned so far is a Topgolf sports entertainment facility, which has yet to undergo formal review by village officials.
But earlier this year, Burk indicated that row homes, apartments, a senior housing facility and medical offices may also be in the pipeline.
Palatine Park District Commissioner Jay Cozza spoke at Tuesday's meeting to express concerns about the large number of residents the site may generate while its property taxes to the park district are frozen at 2013 levels, as well as the lack of open space.
Though he likes the concept and placement of the central park, he believes it should be 5 or 10 acres larger.
"Urban is good, but urban without parks is bad," Cozza said. "People go crazy."
The Palatine Park District has jurisdiction over the part of the site where the residential buildings likely will go.
Because the site's development will be spurred by a tax increment financing district, all increases in the property tax it generates between 2013 and 2036 will go to a fund for public improvements rather than to the area's various local governments.
Schaumburg Trustee Marge Connelly, who previously served on the Schaumburg Park District, told Cozza she believed the village could still be guided by his park district's concerns even with the new zoning district in place.
"This thing is a living document, an outline," Connelly said. "We will continue to work with the park district as this thing gets fleshed out."
Burk said he expected the pace of other developers' proposals for the site to increase with Tuesday's regulatory approvals.
"It allows them to know we're aligned with the municipality," he said. "That gives them the confidence to move forward."