Elk Grove Village buys old office building that was to become hotel

Offices didn't work there - and a hotel didn't either - but Elk Grove Village officials won't yet say what plans they have in mind for a shuttered 3-story building they are buying at the eastern gateway of town.

The village will pay Northfield-based Chowdhury Group $1,750,000 for the 2.34-acre property at 2300 E. Higgins Road, where just two years ago the hotel management firm proposed converting the old office building into a 60-room Baymont Inn & Suites hotel.

As the hotel concept never got off the ground, Mayor Craig Johnson said village hall got word that principal Raisul Chowdhury planned to put the property on the market.

"So we reached out," Johnson said.

The purchase is just the latest in the village's role as a kind of master developer, after village trustees inked contracts for five other properties along the Higgins Road corridor in the last month.

Some residents have questioned the recent land buys and the cost to taxpayers, but Johnson defended the approach. He said all purchases were made with tax increment financing district money - any increase in property taxes in a TIF district are diverted from schools and other taxing bodies into a village-controlled fund - in hopes of guiding redevelopment to grow the tax base.

"We'd rather be the captain of the ship than hang on the back of the ship," Johnson said. "We don't want used car lots. We don't want self-storage units. We want good developments for this community. That happens when you're driving the boat, not riding on the boat. When we have the opportunity to pick up some parcels that we can steer the direction of the development that will be beneficial to the community, we're gonna take advantage of that. Very much so."

The village board in February 2021 approved a special use permit for Chowdhury to convert the old offices into 60 standard and suite rooms, in addition to meeting rooms, a quick pickup food store, and a spa. At the time, the developer cited the rise in suburban office vacancies from the pandemic as a need to switch to a lodging/hospitality use.

But Johnson said the 53-year-old building has remained vacant and only worsened in its condition, having been recently tagged with graffiti that had to be removed.

Under terms of a 12-page purchase and sale agreement the village board approved this week, the village has until May 5 to conduct an environmental site assessment ahead of a scheduled May 25 closing.

The building will be torn down and the site prepared for future redevelopment, Johnson said.

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