Dist. 220 restates fears about redevelopment of former AT&T campus

  • While general support was expressed Monday for the planned redevelopment of the former AT&T campus in Hoffman Estates, Barrington Unit District 220 officials continued to ask for more details for their own cost-benefit analysis.

      While general support was expressed Monday for the planned redevelopment of the former AT&T campus in Hoffman Estates, Barrington Unit District 220 officials continued to ask for more details for their own cost-benefit analysis. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer, 2018

 
 

Local officials expressed general support for the redevelopment of the former AT&T campus in Hoffman Estates Monday at a public hearing on a proposed tax incentive, but Barrington Unit District 220 officials restated their desire for more details to be sure the number of students living there wouldn't outweigh additional tax revenue.

New Jersey-based Somerset Development has proposed turning the vacant office campus into a self-contained community of businesses and multifamily residences to be named "City Works."

A requested tax increment financing district to help pay for public improvements on the site -- the subject of Monday's hearing -- wouldn't include the estimated 375 apartments and 175 townhouses.

District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris stated his appreciation for this but said other questions remain.

"Based on published concepts and comments, we can estimate by using the methodology used by the village of Hoffman Estates that the development will generate approximately 100 new students," Harris said. "These new students will overwhelm the capacity of our nearest elementary school in the area. These new students will increase our annual operating expenses by almost $2 million to cover the cost of their education."

In contrast, District 220 board President Brian Battle said, the village's current impact fee requirements would provide a one-time payment of about $360,000. As no projection of increased property value has yet been shared by the developer or village, the school district finds it difficult to estimate, he added.

South Barrington Village President Paula McCombie and Trustee Joe Abbate also attended the hearing. Though they didn't speak during it, both afterward expressed their hopes that filling the vacant campus with new businesses and residents would benefit their own neighboring village.

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Hoffman Estates trustees could vote on creating a TIF district for the redevelopment on Jan. 21, but a detailed redevelopment plan -- which also will exclude the residential components -- likely will take at least a few weeks longer, officials said.

After completing its purchase of the 150 acres, Somerset plans to sell the land for the residential buildings to another firm while still acting as master developer.

A TIF district works by freezing the amount of property taxes local governments receive from a development at current levels. Any additional tax revenues generated as property values rise go to a fund earmarked for public improvements in the district. It expires after 23 years or earlier if all costs are paid for.

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