“Metroburb” redevelopment approved for sprawling former AT&T campus

Somerset Development would transform the vacant 1.6M sf campus in suburban Hoffman Estates

Somerset Development plans to replicate its Bell Works in Hoffman Estates
Somerset Development plans to replicate its Bell Works in Hoffman Estates

Somerset Development scored approval for its plan to transform the former AT&T campus in suburban Hoffman Estates into a sprawling mixed-use community.

Village officials Monday approved a concept plan and agreement to turn the 1.6 million-square-foot campus into the new “City Works” community, according to the Daily Herald.

The so-called “metroburb” would include 375 apartments, 175 townhouses, stores, restaurants, hotel rooms and offices and would mirror what New Jersey-based Somerset did with the 2 million-square-foot former Bell Labs building in Holmdel, N.J.

That project is a hit with residents and officials, Holmdel Township Mayor Tom Critelli told the Daily Herald. Bell Works consists of 185 senior housing units and 40 single-family homes, with about 5,000 people working in its offices.

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Locally, School District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris worried that the addition of more than 100 new students would be a burden on taxpayers.

But Gregg Majewski, who owns Jerseys Pizza & Grill nearby on Lakewood Boulevard said his property value has significantly diminished since AT&T left, and he urged Hoffman Estates officials not to let concerns over additional students stop efforts to breathe new life into the area.

The AT&T campus is frequently mentioned as a driver of suburban office vacancy rates along with the former GE Healthcare complex in Barrington and the former Motorola headquarters in Schaumburg. Though Schaumburg officials have discussed a vision for the Motorola property as an “urban, dense” mixed-use redevelopment not unlike what Somerset envisions in Hoffman Estates.

Irving, Texas-based loan servicer C-III Asset Management took control of the AT&T site in a sheriff’s sale last year after its former owner was hit with a $132 million foreclosure suit when AT&T’s lease expired in 2016, according to Crain’s. [Daily Herald]John O’Brien