Hoffman Estates more open to plan for former Macaroni Grill

  • Hoffman Estates village board members responded more positively Monday at a second courtesy review for a plan to replace the former Romano's Macaroni Grill at Higgins and Barrington roads with a building containing a gas station, a convenience store, a fast-food restaurant and a coffee shop.

    Hoffman Estates village board members responded more positively Monday at a second courtesy review for a plan to replace the former Romano's Macaroni Grill at Higgins and Barrington roads with a building containing a gas station, a convenience store, a fast-food restaurant and a coffee shop. rendering Courtesy of Hoffman Estates

  • The former Romano's Macaroni Grill site at 2575 W. Higgins Road in Hoffman Estates is being considered for replacement by a 7,100-square-foot building containing a gas station, convenience store, fast-food restaurant and coffee shop.

      The former Romano's Macaroni Grill site at 2575 W. Higgins Road in Hoffman Estates is being considered for replacement by a 7,100-square-foot building containing a gas station, convenience store, fast-food restaurant and coffee shop. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, 2019

 
 
Posted9/15/2020 5:30 AM

Hoffman Estates trustees' criticisms were considerably muted Monday at their second review of a plan to replace the long-shuttered Romano's Macaroni Grill at Higgins and Barrington roads with a building containing a gas station, a convenience store, a fast-food restaurant and a coffee shop.

As revealed by the development partnership Monday, Amoco would operate the gas station, a Circle K convenience store, a Schaumburg-based Ala Carte Entertainment restaurant named Buddy's Beef, and a Gloria Jean's coffee shop at the southeast corner of the busy intersection.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A majority of the village board had voiced particular concerns about the gas station component when a slightly different version of the plan was presented 11 months ago.

But the developers argued the plan was greatly dependent on the gas station, and it has remained in the revised version for 2575 W. Higgins Road.

The partnership called Hoffmann Alpha Omega Development Group LLC is affiliated through its ownership with Ala Carte Entertainment, which now owns four of the five lots on the restaurant campus, including Moretti's and Moretti's Unique Events.

While planning to add this lot to its active operations on the corner, Ala Carte is in talks with a cannabis company about possibly turning the former TGI Fridays there into a dispensary, said Jennifer LaSota, a representative of the developer.

One of the biggest changes from last October is that the plan for the Macaroni Grill lot calls for a single 7,100-square-foot building instead of a pair of buildings. But the intended uses remain largely intact.

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There also would be a single drive-through window, as well as a video gambling lounge near the convenience store.

LaSota said the restaurant and retail sectors have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the uses proposed for this development were considered sustainable and essential.

More than $400,000 in sales tax is projected to be generated by the building each year, LaSota said.

While less concerned by the gas station now, Trustee Karen Mills still asked whether all 20 planned pumping stations were needed.

"We don't want to make it look like a truck stop-type atmosphere," she said.

But LaSota replied that the numbers are projected to work and that the site is designed to ease traffic flow.

"We do think there is a need for it," she added.

In the courtesy review Monday, trustees did not object to the plan's moving forward as a more formal proposal.

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