164 high-end townhouses coming to Bell Works in Hoffman Estates

Nearly five years after the redevelopment of Hoffman Estates' former AT&T corporate campus into the Bell Works Chicagoland “metroburb” was proposed, village board members on Monday approved 164 high-end townhouses to begin the project's long-promised residential component.

The board also granted preliminary approval to a concept plan for about 300 apartments to follow on the same nearly 20-acre site on the east side of the 152-acre property.

The approved townhouses are planned to be priced in the mid-$400,000s, each with three bedrooms and an option for a fourth. Each unit would have three floors, with a two-car garage on the ground floor and the living areas above.

Though the project was long anticipated, there was discussion about the lack of some usual details that troubled the planning and zoning commission before it gave its recommendation.

Commission Chairman Eva Combs said she was the only member who manifested her frustration as a “no” vote, but others among her colleagues voiced similar sentiments.

As a result, the lack of such details as a homeowners association charter led to the commission's recommending an unusual number of conditions.

“They had years to do things that are rudimentary,” Combs said of the developer.

While calling the development “excellent,” Trustee Karen Mills said she doesn't want the process followed for this project to set a precedent — especially with the apartment component to follow.

Village Manager Eric Palm provided reassurance, saying, “We're not going to issue a permit until all these conditions are met.”

Mayor Bill McLeod added that he was confident the village staff would “make sure every condition is met.”

Both the townhouses that received final approval and the apartments that received preliminary approval Monday are fewer in number than what New Jersey-based Somerset Development requested in a less specific concept plan approved in May 2021. At that time, the company was seeking 189 townhouses and 361 apartments, for a total of 550 units.

The company has already made significant progress in turning the existing AT&T building into a place where a variety of office tenants, fitness facilities and a pioneering eatery operated by Fairgrounds Craft Coffee and Tea have made a home.

The ultimate plan — as with the original Bell Works in Holmdel, New Jersey — is to create an environment in the suburbs in which people can live, work, dine and be entertained within a more concentrated, urban-style area.

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Hoffman Estates officials have granted approval to the construction of 164 high-end townhouse units on the east side of Bell Works Chicagoland. New Jersey-based Somerset Development is also planning 300 apartments on the same 20-acre site. Courtesy of Hoffman Estates
Construction of 164 newly approved townhouses units on the east side of the Bell Works Chicagoland "metroburb" is expected to take approximately three years. About 300 apartments are planned to follow. Courtesy of Hoffman Estates
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