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'The wave of the future': Pitch to add apartments behind hotel could change Woodfield area

by Eric Peterson, Daily Herald

A pitch to add 208 apartments behind the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg on Golf Road could have repercussions for the future development and redevelopment of the entire area around Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg Mayor Tom Dailly said.

"I really think that could be the wave of the future," Dailly added. "If we do this, it's probably the first major change to Schaumburg planning in its history."

Village trustees will get their first look at the proposal Tuesday night. Few details have been provided to Schaumburg officials in advance. Tim Gallagher, of landowner First Equity Group LLC, declined to share additional information before the presentation, which he said was still being prepared Monday.

But Dailly said that what he's seen so far is a concept plan to expand the hotel's banquet area and meeting space north and to add a few floors of apartments with a parking structure below.

Keeping residential, commercial and industrial properties rigidly separated was the vision of Schaumburg's long-serving second mayor Bob Atcher, Dailly said.

"As a growing community, it made a lot of sense," he added. "We've benefitted from that."

But since the 1990s, commercial development along Randall Road to the west has cut down on the volume of commuters doing their shopping in Schaumburg, Dailly said. This creates a need to bring more consumers from Schaumburg and closer suburbs.

He pointed to Vernon Hills' efforts to reinvigorate Hawthorn Mall in the wake of its Sears store's closing, with a plan that includes luxury apartments.

The unfolding Veridian development on the former Motorola campus, which includes new residential, commercial and recreational opportunities, is an example of Schaumburg's adaptability, Dailly said.

"I'm not personally interested in downtown-type living, but plenty of people are," he said. "I am certainly open to looking at this. This is how Schaumburg survives. Schaumburg survives on its sales tax, that's how we keep our property tax very low."

Schaumburg Community Development Director Julie Fitzgerald said Tuesday's presentation will be made by the developer directly to the village board. There has not been a formal proposal filed with the village that staff might make a recommendation on.

She pointed out that the long-standing ban on residential property in the Woodfield region means the Hyatt Regency proposal could take the village down a path it's never been before. That includes having to examine the impact on other government services, such as those the school and park districts provide, if people were to start living in that area.

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