Schaumburg trustees haven't discussed arts center plans for 15 months. But mayor still likes the idea.
While the planned redevelopment of the former Motorola Solutions campus in Schaumburg has made significant progress in 2018, there has been no further village board discussion of the almost equally ambitious idea to build a 2,800-seat performing arts center next to the Schaumburg Convention Center just across Meacham Road.
But Mayor Al Larson says he remains a strong proponent of such a public project while respectful of village trustees' desire to remain cautious about its finances.
"It's still there," he said Friday. "It's not something that's been tossed aside and ridiculed. The board has been very good stewards of the revenues and investments. Anytime you have a project of that magnitude, there's always concerns about whether we're going too far."
Larson said the same might once have been said about the convention center and its adjoining Renaissance Hotel, which he believes have proved their value to the community.
So, too, could the performing arts center when the time is right, he said.
"There's some good people who are in favor of it," Larson said. "It'll benefit the business community. It'll benefit the residents."
In May 2017, village trustees voted 5-1 to continue moving forward with plans for a performing arts center while looking for ways to reduce its estimated $87 million cost. But they haven't discussed it again in the 15 months since.
Village Manager Brian Townsend said there are three ways the project could come back before the board: trustees asking to discuss it, a partner coming forward willing to share the expense, or some way of significantly reducing the cost being found.
Though the village has saved $24 million for a performing arts center since 2004, there remains $53 million to be borrowed if the project moved forward today.
"The economics related to that project haven't changed," Townsend said.
Townsend said Friday the possibility of a performing arts center will be reflected in the land plan for a proposed entertainment district just north of the convention center and hotel that will be presented to the village board for review at a Sept. 18 meeting.
He added that the proposed entertainment district on the east side of Meacham Road is expected to work even without the performing arts center, but it could be enhanced by it.
Other aspects of the plan include improved pedestrian access across Meacham Road -- including a possible bridge -- to Zurich North America's headquarters, and the evolving Veridian development on the former Motorola campus on the west side.
Townsend said the planned entertainment district is intended to complement the redeveloping Motorola site.
In January 2017, the village paid $6.58 million for the single-story, 110,000-square-foot Woodfield Green Executive Centre immediately north of the Renaissance Hotel to make way for restaurants and other entertainment venues.
Six months later, the village hired Ginkgo Planning and Design Inc. of Orland Park for $248,500 to come up with a master plan for the entertainment district that would likely include a reconfiguration of Thoreau Drive at its intersection with Meacham Road. Christopher B. Burke Engineering in Rosemont and SB Friedman Development Advisors in Chicago have assisted with the project, their fees included in the payment to Ginkgo.