UrbanStreet senior housing sparks affordability debate on $100M project

Firm aims to transform Arlington Heights shopping center into mixed-use development

UrbanStreet’s $100M Arlington Heights Plan Sparks Debate
The old International Plaza shopping center in Arlington Heights with UrbanStreet Group's Robert J. Burk II and Robert J. Kuker (UrbanStreet Group, Loopnet)

After overcoming concerns with its plan to meet affordable housing requirements, UrbanStreet Group is in line to receive up to $13.8 million in public funds for its proposed $100 million redevelopment project in Arlington Heights.

The Schaumburg-based firm’s project aims to transform the old International Plaza shopping center at the northeast corner of Golf and Arlington Heights roads into a mixed-use property featuring multiple residential and commercial buildings, the Daily Herald reported

Debates arose among village officials and residents regarding UrbanStreet’s eligibility for tax-increment financing funds. The controversy revolves around UrbanStreet’s plan to devote one building strictly for cheaper senior apartments to satisfy its affordable housing requirements, which one village board member said potentially violates the local affordable housing ordinance.

UrbanStreet, led by Robert J. Burk II and Robert J. Kuker, is in negotiations with another developer, Wisconsin-based Northpointe Development, to build 37 age-restricted senior housing units as part of the redevelopment. Questions persist about the project’s ability to secure federal low-income housing tax credits, adding an element of uncertainty to the proposed collaboration.

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In the event that the deal with Northpointe falls through, UrbanStreet has committed to making “good faith efforts” to secure an alternative affordable housing developer. Should that fail, the village retains an option to find an affordable housing developer independently, according to an agreement with UrbanStreet.

The company’s overall plan includes the construction of six four-story apartment buildings with 266 market-rate apartments. In addition, four commercial outlots along Golf Road, totaling about 34,000 square feet, are slated for retail, a restaurant and a daycare center, the publication reported.

The project has faced scrutiny from Arlington Heights village Trustee Wendy Dunnington, who raised concerns about compliance with the village’s inclusionary housing ordinance. The ordinance mandates that developments receiving public assistance must reserve 10 percent of units as affordable, interspersed among market-rate units and built concurrently.

Despite these concerns, the village board ultimately approved the memorandum, with Mayor Tom Hayes emphasizing the developer’s efforts to meet the spirit of the ordinance. The next steps include potential formal redevelopment agreements and a review by advisory housing, design and plan commissions, with the village board holding final decision-making authority. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in various phases, starting by October of next year.
Quinn Donoghue

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