A vision of a '24/7 atmosphere' at the corner of Algonquin, Arlington Heights
Arlington Heights officials and a developer envision a "24/7" mixed use district at the town's southern entryway that would mirror the density of the village's downtown.
The residential and commercial area proposed for the southeast corner of Arlington Heights and Algonquin roads would include plaza space for entertainment, restaurants, offices and possibly a hotel, according to village officials, who want to prime the 17-acre area for redevelopment by loosening zoning standards.
That could mean building heights up to 200 feet -- 60 feet taller than what's permitted in the downtown -- slightly easing parking requirements, and making the area more pedestrian-friendly.
"We kind of want to have a 24/7 atmosphere here where there isn't just residential and then you have to get in your car and drive somewhere else," said Bill Enright, the village's assistant director of planning and community development.
He added the proposed type of development is appropriate given the location's proximity to the Jane Addams Tollway and because it's not adjacent to any residential areas.
Most of the buildings on the corner are owned by Bradford Allen, a Chicago-based commercial real estate firm that is working with a master developer on the mixed use complex.
While exact plans haven't been revealed, company officials told the village's ordinance review committee last month the development would be phased with commercial and residential space, and that their ideas are consistent with the village's proposed zoning standards.
A Bradford Allen official at the village plan commission meeting last week didn't talk specifics, but did say the firm is in support of the zoning changes.
On a 7-0 vote, the panel endorsed what's called an overlay zoning district that officials say would help facilitate redevelopment.
"This would be a much better introduction to our community than is there now," said commission member Mary Jo Warskow.
The village board, which has final say, is expected to take up the proposal Monday, June 3.
If approved, the less-restrictive zoning rules would permit building heights up to 200 feet, though Enright said Bradford Allen isn't proposing anything that tall.
While village code requires two parking spaces per residential unit, the overlay would allow 1.5 spaces per one-bedroom unit, and one space per studio unit, which Enright said is more in line with demand.
Sidewalks that now abut the major arterial streets would be set back 8 to 10 feet from the curb to allow for planting of landscaped parkways that would separate pedestrians from the high-volume roads.
Such overlay zones were used during the approval process for the 27-acre mixed use Arlington Downs development at Euclid Avenue and Rohlwing Road, and in the Hickory Avenue-Kensington Road area east of downtown.
Bradford Allen closed on its purchase of the former five-story Daily Herald office complex in March, and recently acquired a building at the corner of Arlington Heights and Algonquin roads that formerly housed a Cash for Gold business. In recent years, the real estate firm also acquired a nearby five-floor office building, drive-through bank and shuttered Applebee's restaurant.
The company doesn't own the one-story, 150,000-square-foot office complex at 145 E. Algonquin Road that is home to various office tenants, nor does it own Guitar Center, the destination music emporium that's been a draw for at least two decades.
Bradford Allen has reached out to owners of those two properties, Enright said.
He added that a tax increment financing district is being considered to help speed up redevelopment. Under that mechanism, property taxes paid to local governments would be frozen at current levels and additional taxes collected would go to a special village fund to pay for public and private improvements.
The loosened zoning rules are an outgrowth of the South Arlington Heights Road Corridor Plan approved by the village board a year ago. The 50-page document outlined a vision for upgrades along the corridor from the tollway north to Golf Road. Village officials have been eyeing that section of town for redevelopment at least since 2015, when a comprehensive plan called for revitalizing and creating an identity for main corridors in the village, including Arlington Heights Road.
Enright said it could take a year or two for the development to come to fruition after the developer goes through the formal village approval process, though he noted it's all dependent on market conditions.