While Arlington 425 tries to obtain financing, trustees grant temporary project delay
Amid financial concerns, the developer of the massive Arlington 425 development on Monday received a 90-day extension on the Arlington Heights village board's approval a year ago that was due to expire in days.
Developer Norwood Builders was already having difficulty obtaining financing for the $150 million development that would transform the face of downtown Arlington Heights. Then the coronavirus pandemic began.
"It's as if a faucet had been turned off," project attorney Mike Firsel said of halted discussions with possible lenders and equity providers.
Village trustees Monday night agreed to the three-month extension on its preliminary plat of subdivision approval that was set to lapse on Wednesday, while indicating they could grant further delays up to a year, which was sought by the developer. But if shovels aren't in the ground a year from now, the developer would have to restart its application process with the village and again go before the plan commission and village board.
"I expected by now the developer would be digging, and that's not happening," said Trustee John Scaletta. "We need to move this along. I think 90 days is a good amount of time for us to figure out exactly where they're at."
Arlington 425 proposes a three-building residential and commercial campus on the northern three-quarters of the vacant parcel bounded by Campbell Street, Highland Avenue, Sigwalt Street and Chestnut Avenue. It would be the largest development in some two decades in town.
Trustees agreed to extend their previous approval on an 8-0 vote, with Trustee Jim Tinaglia recusing himself because his architecture firm is designing Arlington 425.
Over the 90-day period, officials from the village, Arlington 425 and the neighboring Sigwalt 16 townhouse development are expected to negotiate with ComEd over a possible relocation of overhead utility lines that currently run through the empty Block 425 and power much of the downtown. Since it would require Arlington 425 to dedicate land for right of way along Chestnut, village staff said they weren't yet comfortable granting the requested full-year postponement.
Julie Workman, an attorney for Sigwalt 16 builder M/I Homes, said the development of 16 townhouses would get delayed if utility relocation issues aren't resolved. M/I just finished initial groundwork on the site.
Firsel said ComEd was largely unresponsive until recently getting a letter from Mayor Tom Hayes.
"We want to make sure (Arlington 425) gets built and Sigwalt 16 gets built and we complete our downtown as envisioned," Hayes said.