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The construction of 189 townhouses and 361 apartments has been proposed around the outside of the main office and commercial building of the Bell Works Chicagoland redevelopment of the former AT&T corporate campus in Hoffman Estates. (Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer, 2018)

The redevelopment of Hoffman Estates’ former AT&T headquarters into the mixed-use “metroburb” called Bell Works Chicagoland is about to embark on its next phase: a residential component featuring townhouses and apartments.

Ken Gold, vice president of acquisitions and development for New Jersey-based Somerset Development, said his firm is in the process of submitting a formal plan for 189 townhouses and 361 apartments to the village.

Somerset is likely to stick to its original intention of selling the land surrounding the main building on the 150-acre site to another developer, which would execute the plans for housing, Gold said.

He anticipates a 4- to 6-month review of the plans by Hoffman Estates officials. If the project stays on schedule, the first townhouses could be delivered in the summer of 2022, Gold said.

Somerset’s original agreement with the village set the limit on the number of housing units at 550, though a slight variation was permitted in the ratio between types.

This phase of the project comes at a particularly strong time for the residential real estate market, Gold said.

Though the pandemic created a slowdown in the market for office space, it occurred while Somerset was in the process of renovating and adapting the lobby and atrium space. The company also was constructing 32,462 square feet of speculative office space and 2,000 square feet of retail or restaurant space on the main floor of the central building at 2000 Center Drive.

Read more here.

Editorial note: The location of Somerset Development’s planned apartments and townhomes appears to be within the Barrington CUSD 220 attendance boundary (see map here).

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South Barrington US

A national veterans cemetery was proposed for the southwest corner of Freeman and Mundhank roads in South Barrington. The plan has since been scuttled.

Months after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced it no longer planned to establish a cemetery in South Barrington, the village board on Friday will discuss the controversial proposal and ways to help local veterans.

One option could be supporting the search for a new veterans cemetery site elsewhere in the suburbs, Mayor Paula McCombie said. Another option could be offering services for veterans, such as assistance with financial matters or making medical appointments, she said.

“What can we do?” McCombie said. “Let’s do something.”

The board is set to meet at 3 p.m. at village hall, 30 S. Barrington Road.

The 15-acre site once being eyed by the VA is near the southwest corner of Mundhank and Freeman roads. The VA’s plan — designed to provide burial options for veterans and their families in or near urban areas — called for thousands of niches in walls for cremated remains.

The site would’ve been an extension of the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery near Joliet.

But the proposal drew many objections. McCombie and other critics said a veterans cemetery that would host multiple memorial rifle volleys each day was not appropriate for a site near homes.

They also said potential odors from a nearby, inactive landfill would render the property unfit for veterans and mourners.

Read more here.

Related: “Plans dashed for columbarium cemetery in South Barrington after land site sold, officials say

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SB Land plan to build homes on 34 acres of vacant land in South Barrington got a cool reception from the village board Thursday.

The property being eyed for development is on the southeast corner of Route 59 and Bartlett Road and is owned by the South Barrington Park District. The land once was home to a tree nursery.

The park district bought the land years ago. But because of its topography and other factors, officials determined the land isn’t ideal for recreational activities and would require “significant funds” to develop, park district Executive Director Jay Morgan said.

Voters last year authorized the park district to put the property up for sale.

Burr Ridge-based McNaughton Development secured the land for more than $1.6 million in an auction last month, Morgan said. The company and the park district haven’t yet closed on the deal, however.

Trustees raised several concerns about the plan, however, particularly the proposed density of the neighborhood. The land now is zoned in such a way that 14 houses could be built there — far fewer than the developers proposed, Mayor Paula McCombie said afterward.

Read more here.

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SB AuctionThe South Barrington village board will hold a special meeting Thursday morning to hear a presentation about a possible new residential development in town.

The meeting is set for 10 AM at Village Hall, 30 S. Barrington Road.

McNaughton Development will lead the presentation, which concerns a roughly 34-acre, vacant piece of land at Route 59 and Bartlett Road that recently was recently put up for auction by the South Barrington Park District.

The company wants to build single-family homes there, a village representative said.

Related: “South Barrington auctioning 33.9816 acres near VBH Village Hall

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has abandoned plans to build a columbarium cemetery – to house cremated remains of veterans – in South Barrington and is seeking a location elsewhere, according to village and VA officials.

“The VA columbarium never came to fruition here and we tried to find the VA another spot in town, but we have no evidence that they were interested in exploring our suggestions,” said South Barrington mayor Paula McCombie. “We received an email from them on Sept. 10 stating that the property was no longer available and that they were concluding any further evaluation and actions for the Freeman Road site.”

Les’ A. Melnyk, a spokesman for the National Cemetery Association for the Department of Veterans Affairs, confirmed the VA will not be developing the site at 10 Freeman Road, in the northwest suburban town, since someone else purchased the property the VA had been eyeing.

In Nov. 2019, more than 100 people crowded into the South Barrington Village Hall for a town hall meeting to discuss the proposed columbarium that would have housed the cremated remains of about 5,000 veterans on a 15-acre parcel in South Barrington.

Read more here.

Related:National veterans cemetery in South Barrington: How about a different spot in town, leaders say

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The pandemic that created so many hardships in 2020 is far from behind us, but with vaccines already being distributed to millions and the calendar turning to a new year, there’s reason for optimism as we begin 2021. We asked mayors and village presidents in the Northwest suburbs what they hope to see their communities accomplish in the year ahead.

Barrington Hills, Martin McLaughlin

The village is currently testing the use of cameras to create a “virtual gated community,” which if approved, will be implemented in 2021.

Barrington, Karen Darch

Next year, we are looking forward to leading the community “back to normal” after the pandemic and beginning work on our Route 14 Metra access project as well as engineering work on the Route 14 underpass.*

South Barrington, Paula McCombie

In 2021, we are looking forward to working on an increase in development and new business, as well as the completion of our serenity garden in our Village Conservancy.

The plans of Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Lake Barrington and others can be viewed here.

* We were wondering what ever happened with the,Curious Questions with Karen Darch,” podcasts?

The first (and only) podcast was in February, and we think she should reactivate it given current events (District 220, for example), since the first one was so stimulating!

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The Arboretum of South Barrington is facing a foreclosure lawsuit amid widespread economic pressure on the retail and hospitality industries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the lawsuit filed in Cook County circuit court in September, UnionBank states that the owners of The Arboretum didn’t pay interest on the property’s $67.2 million mortgage and didn’t pay off the debt when it matured in April, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

The 480,000-square-foot outdoor shopping center at Higgins Road and Route 59 is listed as part of the portfolio of Starwood Retail Partners, a division of Starwood Capital Group.

Starwood Retail Partners and UnionBank didn’t return requests for comment Wednesday.

“Unfortunately we have no comment,” said a woman who answered The Arboretum’s customer service number.

South Barrington Mayor Paula McCombie said she had no firsthand knowledge of the lawsuit but was informed Wednesday morning that The Arboretum has a court-appointed receiver. That person is Mike Zucker, managing partner of Peak Properties, based in Chicago.

Read more here.

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Willow Creek Community Church’s main campus in South Barrington will host its inaugural Winter Wonderland Walk starting Tuesday.

Willow Creek Community Church’s main South Barrington campus will be transformed into an outdoor light extravaganza for the public to enjoy — at a distance from one another — beginning Tuesday.

The church’s first Winter Wonderland Walk is a half-mile paved walking path with 80 wrapped trees, 55 lighted structures and more than 10 miles of lights. Church leaders say it’s their way to bring some Christmas cheer to the community, as a number of holiday gatherings have already been curtailed across the region.

The light spectacle is free to attend, but requires timed tickets available on the church website at willowcreek.org/wonderland. Attendees ages 2 and above will be required to wear face masks along the walk.

The decorated walkway will feature interactive elements that tell the Christmas story and give pause for reflection, organizers say. It will be open nightly, except for Mondays, starting Dec. 1. The event runs through Christmas Eve.

Read more here.

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Up for auction August 5th is +/- 34 acres currently owned by the South Barrington Park District. The property is located at South of the intersection of RT 59 (Sutton Rd. and Bartlett Rd., South Barrington, IL). The suggested opening bid is $500,000.

Ordinarily we don’t post real estate listings. However, given the proximity of the property to the Barrington Hills Village Hall, based on our experience we’re certain someone will have to voice their opinion on this matter.

Details on the property and auction terms can be viewed here.

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Barrington Village President Karen Darch

Officials from the Barrington Area Council of Governments have announced a new executive board leadership team for 2020-21.

Barrington Village President Karen Darch will serve as the group’s chair, with South Barrington Mayor Paula McCombie as vice chair.

Barrington Township Supervisor Amy Nykaza served as board chair in 2019-20.

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