Hoffman Estates continues to grow and change as it, and the world around it, evolves. From office campus reinventions to data centers to multi-family redevelopments, the Village is open to new growth and reinvigoration!
Reinventing the Corporate Campus
Two corporate campuses along I-90 are evolving – the former AT&T headquarter campus and the former Sears headquarters are in different stages of reinvention mode.
The 150-acre former AT&T campus fronting I-90 has become a Metroburb called Bell Works Chicagoland. A Metroburb is a term coined by Inspired by Somerset Development, owners of the Bell Works brand, which mixes office tenants with retail spaces like a fitness center, coffee shop, food hall, salon, daycare, doggy daycare and public gathering spots for farmers markets, non-profit galas and more. The concept allows corporate employees in the suburbs to enjoy the convenience of working in a city while getting the best parts of the suburbs with the great schools, award winning parks and forest preserves and safe neighborhoods. A metropolis in suburbia!
Bell Works currently features traditional office, spec suites called ‘Ready-To-Wear’, co-working space called ‘CoLab’, a conference center – ‘Gather’, as well as a 30,000 square foot fitness center – ‘FitLab’, while plans are in the works for Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea to build a food hall experience by the end of this year along with new event space next year.
Elsewhere on the property, Inspired is open to working to build up to 550 townhomes and apartments to fully bring the mixed-use concept to the site. They are looking for interested groups to build each urban component in the suburban setting.
The nearby 274-acre, 2.3-million square foot, former Sears headquarters campus, now owned by Transformco, has also gone on the market. The campus, opened in 1992 when the retailer moved out of their namesake tower in Chicago, features seven buildings, two parking decks, and 70 acres of shovel-ready, undeveloped land. While no plans are approved, the Village would like to see a developer master plan the entire campus but are open to many options. The plans could improve a mix of uses, including but not limited to, industrial, data centers, residential, office, retail, public gather spaces, and entertainment. “The opportunity is exciting as it’s a chance to reinvent a large tract of land in a high end business and entertainment park so close to Chicago and O’Hare International Airport,” said Kevin Kramer, Director of Economic Development for the Hoffman Estates.
Data Centers Permitted
Immediately north of Bell Works, Microsoft is spending $450 million to build a large data center on 53 acres. The first of two phases is currently under construction, including the infrastructure needed to bring electricity and water to the site. “The Village is excited to welcome Microsoft to Hoffman Estates and we know they will have a positive effect on our community,” said Mayor Bill McLeod.
Earlier this year, the Village amended its zoning code to make data centers a permitted use in certain industrial and office zoning districts signaling the desire to see this use in the community. Additionally, in 2019, the State of Illinois General Assembly adopted an incentive program making it attractive for data centers to come to Illinois. “Data centers complement the Village’s tax base very well,” said Kramer. “It’s important to have a healthy mix of retail, commercial and industrial businesses of all sizes so we can continue to diversify our economy.” Hoffman Estates would welcome new data centers who value affordable, redundant power, plentiful water, moderate climates and land surrounded by multiple fiber providers.
Aside from data centers, Hoffman Estates continues to grow with new industrial projects. Just to the west of Microsoft, a 250,000 square-foot spec industrial building was finished and another 200,000 square-foot spec building is under construction. “These two projects represent the first speculative industrial properties to be built in Hoffman Estates in 35 years,” Kramer said, “which helps to diversify the tax base.”
Welcoming New Residents with New Multifamily
Amidst all the redevelopment activity, Hoffman Estates recently approved an area plan for the I-90 & Barrington Road interchange adjacent to the Pace bus rapid transit Kiss-and-Ride station. The plan calls for new multifamily products on infill sites to attract the workforce desiring to move to the suburbs from the city. “Hoffman Estates, with a 3% vacancy rate for multifamily, is in need of a new multifamily type of product,” said Kramer, “Adding multifamily housing near transit provides a natural utilization of the area. Having this proximity helps create a unique, vibrant mixed-use warehouse district with restaurants, craft retailers, community services, and office and manufacturing employers.” The Village is also in the process of creating a TIF district for this area so by the end of the year a new incentive tool will be in place to spur unique developments to benefit the community and the district.
Additionally, Seasons at Hoffman Estates, a 296 unit project is in the entitlement process nearby, developed by Fiduciary Real Estate Development. The eight building with amenity-laden clubhouse will start construction later this year across from St. Alexius Medical Campus and Barrington Square Town Center. Modern rental living has begun to grow in the northwest suburbs and Hoffman Estates wants more of it. There is room for growth, as the area plan identifies a market potential of almost 2,000 units and many other mixed-use sites ready for a developer.
“We are excited for the new projects and reinventions and are seeking more public-private partnerships to invest in town.” Kramer added, “If you’re a developer looking in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, give us a call so we can make the community better, together.”