Just days before the scheduled full reopening of Illinois, Schaumburg Business Association members Tuesday received a midyear update on the area's economic recovery from the pandemic, as well as information on the state, county and village incentive programs created to quicken it.
Schaumburg Economic Development Director Matt Frank reported the village's housing and industrial markets had remained very strong throughout the past year, while such hard-hit sectors as retail, restaurants and even hotels were demonstrating some degree of comeback.
The office market is one Frank is keeping a particularly close eye on. While there was a 20% vacancy rate among the village's hotel stock pre-pandemic, only about a quarter of the Chicago area's office workers and a third of the nation's have actually begun returning to their normal places of work.
But there is plenty of evidence for hope for the future, Frank said, including the continued redevelopment of the former Motorola Solutions campus and pending plans for an entertainment district near the Schaumburg Convention Center that the village staff will present for review next month.
"It's hard to move entertainment during a pandemic," he conceded. "We've been fortunate to have a patient partner."
Some of the biggest news to break in recent months is that a sprawling Sports & Social restaurant would be part of the retail, dining and entertainment area of the Veridian Development on the former Motorola site, expected to open in 2023.
"This should be a great anchor for that development," Frank said.
More housing for older adults is also expected on the Veridian site, while the D.R. Horton rowhomes already under construction elsewhere on the development can't be built fast enough for the current market, he said.
With Woodfield Mall reporting an uptick in visitors as its 50th anniversary approaches, another major change is the anticipated addition of a 208-unit apartment complex behind the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg across the street.
"This would really invigorate that area," Frank said. "It's a little different for us."
While a new village grant program was recently announced offering Schaumburg restaurants up to $20,000 in assistance, other tax incentives were outlined by Jonathan McGee, deputy director of regional economic development for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Xochitl Flores, Cook County's bureau chief of economic development.
McGee said that while his agency has long provided grants, loans and tax incentives for new and growing businesses, the pandemic has increased the amount of front-line economic relief it's provided to small businesses.
"We need to ensure businesses don't need to struggle to get the capital they need to grow," he said of a particular loan program.
Flores praised the work of organizations like the Schaumburg Business Association in being the local liaisons for business owners to learn about and take advantage of the state and county incentives.
"I know this can be overwhelming at times," she said. "We're nimble. We're here to work with our strong business service institutions."