Two local firms submit pitches for Arlington Park redevelopment

Two more development proposals for the Arlington Park racetrack property in Arlington Heights have been revealed, joining bids from the Bears for a new football stadium and from former track President Roy Arnold to preserve racing at the site.

The two latest proposals to be disclosed are from Chicago-based Glenstar Properties and Schaumburg-based UrbanStreet Group LLC.

Glenstar Managing Principal Michael Klein said his firm's pitch is probably distinct because it doesn't entail buying the land outright.

Instead, the company would be track owner Churchill Downs' partner in a plan to sell off individual parcels for a mixed-use development with an 80- to 100-acre open recreational space as a major component of the 326-acre site. "We would act as their feed developer," Klein said of the proposed relationship with Churchill Downs. "It would give them the maximum value."

The more traditional way redevelopment happens is for someone to buy the property and assume all the risks. But under the Glenstar proposal, Churchill Downs would be part of the process and share in the risks to reap a higher reward, Klein said.

While Klein said he couldn't be specific about the potential uses of an 80- to 100-acre recreational space on the Arlington Park property, he said it would be both a draw in its own right as well as something that would reduce the density of the rest of the project.

"I think it would be something the community would be really proud of," Klein said.

UrbanStreet Group is already known locally for its mixed-use Veridian Development underway on 225 acres of the former Motorola Solutions campus at the southwest corner of Algonquin and Meacham roads in Schaumburg.

Managing Partner Bob Burk could not be reached for comment on the specifics of his Arlington Park pitch Friday, but its approach with Veridian was to buy the entire site from Motorola and act as master developer as a variety of office, residential, retail and entertainment interests materialized.

After a June 15 deadline to receive proposals, Arlington Park's owner said its real estate firm had received "strong proposals from numerous parties," but did not name them.

Klein doesn't believe the deliberations will be prolonged.

"I think by the fall they're going to pick the direction, maybe sooner," he said.

Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips announced last month that the team would bid for the racetrack property in a move that could relocate the team to Arlington Heights from Soldier Field in Chicago.

Arnold's earlier reported proposal calls for the current grandstand and racetrack to remain, while relocating and constructing a new backstretch stable and adding a hotel and entertainment district, as well as industrial, retail and residential components.

While Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes has said he'd love to see live horse racing continue at Arlington Park, he and other officials have asked Arnold and other horse racing groups what they'd do differently than Churchill Downs to make it a successful long-term operation.

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