Arlington Heights business climate strong, mayor says
Those who attended Arlington Heights' annual State of the Village address Thursday got a real-world example of what officials describe as a healthy local business climate.
Just below the second-floor Metropolis Ballroom where Mayor Tom Hayes was speaking to business owners and leaders of community organizations, workers were laying concrete for a new floor at what is to become the gastropub/music room Hey Nonny.
"As I was walking in, I almost got cement dumped on my shoes," Hayes joked. "This is the type of business we're hoping to attract in Arlington Heights.
"We're a little bit of a different community," he said. "We don't have a mall like Woodfield in Schaumburg or Randhurst in Mount Prospect. There are many unique businesses in Arlington Heights that provide services and goods to our community."
In 2017, 78 new businesses came to town, bringing 350 jobs and filling 350,000 square feet of formerly vacant space, Hayes reported. That led to slight decreases in the villagewide office and industrial vacancy rates.
It's a trend officials hope continues into 2018 and what led the village board this week to support a Cook County Class 7c property tax incentive for the owner of the Northwest Crossings office building at Dundee Road and Route 53.
The incentive, which allows commercial properties to be assessed at lower levels for five years, would apply to a currently unoccupied 42,000-square-foot tenant space where defense contractor Northrop Grumman plans to bring 270 workers. That would fill the remaining space of a building where HSBC opened its North American headquarters last year.
"We're happy to have two nationally recognized companies within our borders," Hayes said.
In his address, given during a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Hayes hit on other village-led initiatives underway:
• Construction of the $27.9 million, 70,500-square-foot downtown police station continues on budget and on time. It is expected to be ready for occupancy in the fall. The project, several years in the making, was funded through a bond issue with a 2.93 percent interest rate.
• Some stormwater control projects will begin this year, funded in part by a new stormwater utility fee approved last year. Top projects include upgrades to fix downtown street ponding and installing a Cypress Street detention basin.
• The board this week also approved contracts of $4.1 million to reconstruct about 3 miles of streets and $3.7 million to resurface 6 miles of streets. The work is expected to take place this summer.
"Some of these initiatives are not very sexy or glamorous, but they're critically important to our village to get these things done," Hayes said. "It's getting from point A to point B in town."