Six apartment buildings, retail may restart Plum Farms development in Hoffman Estates

Six apartment buildings with 310 units and retail businesses on the ground floors of the three of them could be what kicks off construction of the long-delayed Plum Farms development in Hoffman Estates.

The village board is scheduled to grant a courtesy review of the proposal by Carmel, Indiana-based CRG Residential next Monday night.

The planned three-story buildings would be constructed in two distinct styles on the northwest corner of Higgins and Old Sutton roads, said Hoffman Estates' Director of Development Services Peter Gugliotta. One of those styles would feature 20,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor, he added.

The project would be within the 40 acres of a tax increment financing district approved in January 2020 to reimburse the cost of bringing utilities to the northwest and northeast corners of Higgins and Old Sutton. Including right of way, the TIF district totals 64 acres.

Excluding that right of way, the Plum Farms property totals 185 acres stretching from the northwest corner of Higgins Road and Route 59.

The Plum Farms annexation agreement with Hoffman Estates allows for a total of 1,250 dwelling units of various types. Gugliotta said there could be more multifamily units than the 310 CRG Residential is seeking, but single-family homes also are expected to make up a significant part of the Plum Farms development.

Concerns about density were at the heart of a lawsuit filed in July 2017 by the nearby Regency at the Woods of South Barrington retirement community. Barrington Community Unit School District 220 later joined as a plaintiff.

Though the residents' portion of the lawsuit was ultimately settled, District 220 kept the case going for 2½ years until it was dismissed in late 2019. Citing the case of Hinckley-Big Rock School District vs. Village of Sugar Grove, the judge ruled District 220 did not and could not plead a "direct, substantial, and adverse effect" from the project.

The TIF district site where CRG Residential is planning to buy and build is not within District 220 but Algonquin-based Community Unit Community Unit District 300.

Gugliotta emphasized that the TIF district was designed to reimburse the costs of utilities specifically, not the residential development that could bring school districts and other taxing bodies more residents to serve.

A TIF district freezes the amount of property taxes local governments receive at the level of its first year. As taxes gradually rise, the increases go to a municipally held fund to pay for public improvements within the district. It would expire after 23 years, or when all public improvements have been paid off, whichever comes first.

Under the development assumptions of two years ago, the district was estimated to generate $20.7 million over 23 years.

Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod was among those opposed to earlier versions of proposed TIF districts that would have served the entire Plum Farms site. He cast the sole dissenting vote against the approved version because it preceded a detailed development plan for its 40-acre jurisdiction.

Though next Monday's courtesy review is merely for the expression of opinions and not a formal approval, Gugliotta believes CRG will be seeking that during the coming winter.

"I think they're looking to start reasonably soon," he said.

Representatives of CRG Residential could not be reached for comment Monday.

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