Motorola Solutions Campus Redevelopment Proposal

Motorola Solutions Campus Redevelopment Proposal

A developer is aiming to transform Schaumburg's former Motorola Solutions campus into a self-contained community of offices, homes, stores, restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues whose land area would rival that of the Chicago Loop.

Bob Burk, managing partner of UrbanStreet Group LLC, sees the project as an early part of the second chapter in the story of Chicago's suburbs.

"The suburbs have never really had to evolve before," the Inverness resident said. "They're really not that old."

But Motorola Solutions' relocation of its headquarters to Chicago -- downsizing its Schaumburg presence to a still respectable 1,600 employees -- provided the impetus to adapt what passing motorists had seen as predominantly a big lawn into something much more active.

Schaumburg officials are equally enthusiastic about the opportunity, hiring their own team of consultants to weigh the potential of the site as well as UrbanStreet Group's specific proposal.

But they recognize it as an opportunity that came with an upfront cost.

"It's not a great day when your largest employer tells you they're leaving. I won't sugarcoat it," Schaumburg Community Development Director Julie Fitzgerald said. "But then you plan."

Indeed, with corporate giants such as McDonald's Corp. and United Airlines that sunk roots in the suburbs during the 20th century now pulling them out in the 21st, affected communities are looking for ways to repurpose great swathes of land that was long spoken for. Such ideas as the ones UrbanStreet Group is implementing in Schaumburg are in great demand.

"The concepts are transferable," Burk said. "We're not the first to do this. I wish I were that smart."

Still, the size, location and existing redevelopment of the Schaumburg site makes the potential of the newly dubbed "Veridian" development unique, Burk said.

At 322 acres -- of which UrbanStreet Group owns 225 -- the former campus is only slightly smaller than the defined area of the Loop. And while some corporations acquired more out-of-the-way locations, Motorola Solutions' old headquarters borders the I-90 tollway just minutes west of O'Hare Airport, with easy access via a new interchange at Meacham Road that just opened.

Furthermore, with Zurich North America's new headquarters in the southeast corner of the site and Motorola Solutions having renovated a building it's leasing back from a new owner, there are already about 4,600 potential daytime customers for service businesses interested in locating there, Burk said.

And the existing office space represents only about a third of the potential 3.3 million square feet village consultants see as suitable for the site.

Representatives of Zurich North America and Motorola Solutions said their firms already are looking forward to having some new neighbors.

"We are excited to see the campus evolve to be repurposed by the developer," said Motorola Solutions spokeswoman Natalie Brown. "We also are eager to see the property add value back to the community and expect our employees will welcome any new goods and services."

Dennis Kerrigan, chief legal officer for Zurich North America, said his firm didn't buy its site with expectations of the adjacent land staying empty.

"We decided to build our North American headquarters in Schaumburg as part of our commitment to providing the best possible working environment for our employees and in recognition of the area's impressive potential," he said. "We are pleased that the village and developer of the former Motorola property are making progress toward achieving that potential, and we sincerely appreciate their thoughtful approach thus far."

Article published in Daily Herald July 30, 2017 written by Eric Peterson.

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