Hoffman Estates recommends redevelopment agreement for former AT&T site

 
 
Posted5/8/2018 5:26 AM
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  • Next Monday, May 14, Hoffman Estates village board members will consider approval of both a concept plan and a redevelopment agreement with New Jersey-based Somerset Development for the transformation of the former AT&T campus into a self-contained community of businesses and residences called "City Works."

      Next Monday, May 14, Hoffman Estates village board members will consider approval of both a concept plan and a redevelopment agreement with New Jersey-based Somerset Development for the transformation of the former AT&T campus into a self-contained community of businesses and residences called "City Works." Eric Peterson | Staff Photographer, 2016

  • The ongoing transformation of the 2-million-square-foot former Bell Labs building in Holmdel, New Jersey, into a commercial and residential community called Bell Works is the model for Somerset Development's concept plan for the redevelopment of the 1.6-million-square-foot former AT&T campus in Hoffman Estates.

    The ongoing transformation of the 2-million-square-foot former Bell Labs building in Holmdel, New Jersey, into a commercial and residential community called Bell Works is the model for Somerset Development's concept plan for the redevelopment of the 1.6-million-square-foot former AT&T campus in Hoffman Estates. Courtesy of Somerset Development

  • Proposed ATT development

    Graphic: Proposed ATT development (click image to open)

Hoffman Estates' elected officials Monday unanimously recommended approval of a proposed agreement with New Jersey-based Somerset Development that the village will at least consider some possible tax incentives to facilitate the redevelopment of the 1.6-million-square-foot former AT&T office campus.

Barrington Unit District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris and board Vice President Penny Kazmier attended the meeting to say their stance on the project likely will depend on the tax incentives chosen.

Among the possibilities are a tax-increment financing (TIF) district, a Cook County Class 7B tax break, a rebate of a certain percentage of the Illinois Retailers' Occupation Tax, or incentives that would be available via a still-pending state bill encouraging the redevelopment of such "Big Empties" as the site's two vacant buildings.

The state bill alone could allow such breaks as an income tax credit equal to 25 percent of a developer's investment, a tax exemption on the purchase of computer software, and an abatement of up to half the property tax.

TIF districts -- which freeze the amount of property tax local governments receives at the level of their first years -- are often criticized by school districts as a means of spurring redevelopment.

Harris said the "Big Empties" bill could be a more attractive option for District 220, but one downside is the current uncertainty of its being voted into law.

"If it stays as it's proposed, it certainly sounds like a better option than a TIF district (which lasts) for 23 years," he said of the bill.

The village board will consider approval of the development agreement at 7 p.m. next Monday, May 14, as well as the project's concept plan.

The plan calls for 1.2 million square feet of offices, 60,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 80,000 square feet of conference space in the existing buildings.

New construction would add 375 apartments, 175 townhouses and a 200-room hotel to the 150-acre site.

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