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Meeting Chicago Suburban Residents' Needs Involves New Multifamily Developments And Transit Access

The Village recently approved an area plan near the Interstate 90 and Barrington Road interchange, which focuses on redeveloping properties to add multifamily and mixed-use near the Pace Bus rapid transit station.

During the pandemic, urban renters fled major cities in search of more space. This led to a multifamily development boom in places like the Chicago suburbs. Now, these areas are working hard to make sure their new tenants have the housing, amenities and quality of life they need.

One community where these efforts have been successful is the Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates, where several new multifamily properties are in development. Kevin Kramer, the village’s director of economic development, said these properties were a long time coming, since Hoffman Estates, like many Chicago suburbs, had an aging multifamily inventory that needed updating.

“A lot of times you get these products from the ’70s that are starting to become run down and don’t have as many amenities, and municipal boards and city councils haven’t seen many examples of new multifamily buildings that were outside the urban setting,” Kramer said. “Once you get a couple of those examples from neighboring towns, then you can start figuring out how they can fit into your town.”

Kramer said a large part of his role in the community is meeting with the Hoffman Estates municipal board to provide insight on multifamily trends. Staying on top of the latest developments is crucial, he said, if the area wants to appeal to more millennial and Gen Z renters.

Bell Works is a growing Metroburb with office, retail, fitness, coworking, event space and public gathering space. Somerset Development is also looking to add residential to the site for a full, mixed-use redevelopment.

With this goal in mind, Hoffman Estates has been positioning new multifamily developments at the full interchange of Interstate 90 and Barrington Road, which is already home to Bell Works Chicagoland, a former AT&T headquarters that has been transformed into a Metroburb, a "metropolis in suburbia" with enclosed multi-use areas, offering workspaces, retail, restaurants and fitness. 

Ralph Zucker, president of Somerset Development, the developer behind Bell Works Chicagoland, said a goal has been to meet the “massive uptick in demand for best-in-class multifamily housing” in the Chicago suburbs.

"We're determined to help fulfill these housing needs with the 550 units we have slated in our redevelopment plan, accompanying the 1.2M SF of office and coworking, retail, restaurant and fitness space at Bell Works Chicagoland — making it a true ‘metroburb,’” Zucker said. “We're eager to put the shovel to the ground soon, with site plan approvals already underway for the first set of 175 townhomes."

Kramer noted that at this interchange, Microsoft is investing more than $450M to construct a data center, developers are building new spec industrial, and there are plans to add more new multifamily units near the Pace Kiss-and-Ride bus terminal with free commuter parking. He said that these additions, paired with robust transit development, will contribute to the vibrancy and uniqueness of the area.

“Adding multifamily housing near transit and employers provides a natural utilization of the area,” Kramer said. “Having this proximity helps create a unique, vibrant mixed-use warehouse district with restaurants, craft retailers, entertainment options, community service, and office and manufacturing employers."

The site was rezoned with this concept plan in March 2022, and FRED hopes to receive approval for 296 units and begin construction later this year.

Another multifamily project in progress, Seasons at Hoffman Estates, located on Higgins Road and Moon Lake Boulevard, is scheduled to begin construction this summer. It will consist of 296 townhouse-style apartments.

Tony DeRosa, vice president of Fiduciary Real Estate Development and the developer on this project, originally approached Hoffman Estates to ask if the community would be open to rezoning the property from office to multifamily.

“Hoffman Estates is a community of 50,000 people, with phenomenal demographics and great proximity to the interstate and retailers, and having a modern multifamily rental option would be an essential addition to the community,” DeRosa said. “It’s nice to see a community be proactive and think about ‘how can we create something special that’s going to stand out and be one of the nicest additions to the suburbs?’”

DeRosa said that FRED will manage the properties and focus on providing an “unmatched resident experience.” Each townhouse comes with its own private entrance to mimic the feel of a condo. This was a priority for residents who took Covid-19 precautions seriously and valued the ability to go right into their apartment instead of walking down a corridor.

Residents can expect to see amenities such as a pool, clubroom and fitness facility, Kramer added. 

“We are thrilled at the new project and we have determined through market analysis that we can absorb another 500-plus units in that area of town alone,” Kramer said.

In addition to these projects, he said, the next step for Hoffman Estates is to seek a public-private partnership to redevelop existing multifamily or outdated office properties and “invest in the town.” 

“All of these projects will add new supply and really meet a demand that is already living here for newer multifamily in Hoffman Estates,” Kramer said. “If you’re a multifamily developer looking in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, whether you develop 300 units or 40 units and 60 townhomes on a site, give us a call and let's make the community better together.”

This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Village of Hoffman Estates. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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