The Hoffman Estates Village Board is expected to embrace a creative concept: Turn the former AT&T campus into a “metroburb” – an idea supported by Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Streamwood, who proposed a bill called the “Big Empties Site Act,” would provide tax breaks for developers to remake vacant large properties like the old campus.
Chicago Tribune, May 13, 2018
On Monday, the Hoffman Estates Village Board is expected to embrace a creative concept: Turn the campus into a “metroburb,” a walkable, mixed-use hub of offices, homes and shops that offers a taste of urban cool in a suburban setting. It’s the kind of place that might appeal to latte-craving millennials who’ve moved out of Chicago. It might even bring back some of the lost property tax revenue.
New Jersey developer Ralph Zucker, who claims to have coined the term “metroburb,” already has built one at a suburban complex of even greater size and architectural distinction than AT&T. It’s the former Bell Labs building in Holmdel, N.J., a nearly 2 million-square-foot box of black mirrored glass in an affluent, rural suburb about 45 miles south of midtown Manhattan.
“This is a moneymaking proposition. We’ve created a secret sauce,” Zucker said.
He thinks he can bring the same recipe and outcome to Hoffman Estates.
Some novel financial incentives are also part of the mix. A bill proposed by state Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Streamwood, called the “Big Empties Site Act,” would provide tax breaks for developers to remake vacant large properties like the former AT&T campus.