An advisory panel of local governments convened Tuesday by the village of Arlington Heights endorsed revisions to a redevelopment plan, which could pave the way for a long-stalled overhaul of International Plaza on Golf Road.
The joint review board, made up of representatives of local taxing districts such as schools and the park district, issued a unanimous recommendation supporting village officials' revised future land use map for 18 acres that includes the 1980s-era shopping center.
The new plan calls for the area to be developed with mixed uses instead of solely commercial spaces. It follows a 2018 village-commissioned market study that found it would be hard to sustain the 164,000 square feet of commercial space there.
Then came Ryan Companies' conceptual plans for a three-story, 188-unit senior living community on the rear eight acres of the shopping center site, with about half the apartments being independent living and the rest a mix of assisted living and memory care.
Bill Enright, the village's assistant director of planning and community development, said there's also been a proposal floating as many as 225 apartments on the site. Properties fronting Golf and Arlington Heights roads, including a village-owned site at the corner, are envisioned for commercial use, such as restaurants. Medical offices also are a possibility, Enright said.
"Since we've had such a difficult time with this redevelopment and since the (tax increment financing) plan calls for this whole area being commercial only, that isn't working," Enright said during a meeting held virtually Tuesday afternoon. "The study indicates that we really need to look at this area with a more open mind in terms of what the market might call for, in terms of demand."
The plan changes are the latest in a long-running saga that began in 2002 when the village included the 13-acre shopping center in its 35-acre tax increment financing district. Under that financing mechanism, property taxes above a certain point are funneled into economic development efforts, instead of local governments like schools and parks.
But redevelopment efforts in Arlington Heights' TIF 4 have been stalled amid lawsuits and economic recession.
The village earned state legislative approval in 2014 to extend the life of the district until 2037, in which officials agreed to share incremental revenues for the extension period with the other taxing districts -- if and when redevelopment occurs.
A public hearing on the plan changes is scheduled for a virtual redevelopment commission meeting at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10. The village board will consider final approval of the plan March 1.