Enjoying Success in the Chicago Metro Area
Village of Arlington Heights
Located just a short train ride from downtown Chicago, The Village of Arlington Heights enjoys both small-town charm and big city amenities. The community boasts easy access to three interstates, as well as two Metra commuter rail stops, making it a snap to commute in or out…
“We have terrific connection throughout the Chicago area including to and from downtown Chicago,” says Michael Mertes, Business Development Coordinator for Arlington Heights’ Department of Planning and Community Development. “We’re also only eight miles from O’Hare International Airport.”
While regional accessibility is certainly a big draw, the village’s 76,000 residents have plenty of reasons to stay home for work or play; Arlington Heights has its own thriving downtown and plenty of cultural, educational, entertainment, and recreational opportunities. The third largest community in Cook County, the Village’s average household income is over $90,000, providing plenty of disposable income to support local business. “In 2014 we did $1.2 billion in retail sales, continuing an upward trend for the Village of Arlington Heights,” Mr. Mertes reports.
Residents have the qualifications needed to ensure that the community’s 3,200 businesses can find the talented and experienced workforce that they need. “We have an educated resident base,” says Mr. Mertes. “Over half of residents age 25 and older have at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.”
In addition to a booming retail sector, the Village enjoys strong office, light industry, and healthcare sectors. “We have two of the fastest growing office businesses in the country; Paylocity and Aurico,” Mr. Mertes reports. “We also have many other long established office tenants in the community.” Nokia Networks employs over 1,000 people, while AT&T provides employment for hundreds of locals, and will likely add up to 250 additional jobs over the next year. The Daily Herald, Suburban Chicago’s biggest newspaper, is headquartered in the Village. SVM just opened a new, international headquarters in Arlington Heights, while Weber Packaging Solutions and IMS Buhrke-Olson have operated within the community for decades. Additionally, HSBC will open an office in Arlington Heights this spring, bringing 1,500 new jobs to the community. “Arlington Heights is a pro-business community that works on state-of-the-art solutions to assist businesses and facilitate development,” said Charles Witherington-Perkins, the Village’s Director of Planning and Community Development. “Assisting HSBC required constant communication with the property owner and their representatives.”
The Village also provides top-notch healthcare – and plenty of employment opportunities for healthcare workers. “Healthcare is a big [sector] in our community,” says Mr. Mertes. US News & World Report recently rated the Village’s Northwest Community Hospital as one of the top 15 Chicago area hospitals. The inpatient and outpatient facility is particularly well known as “a big innovator in surgical technology.” Alexian Brothers Health System operates several facilities throughout the Village and Transitional Care Center of Arlington Heights just opened in the fall, providing short-term care and rehabilitation services for recovering patients. And recently, Lutheran Home, an assisted care living facility, completed a $70 million expansion of their facilities.
Arlington Heights’ thriving business sector still has room for growth and the Village offers a number of incentives for both new and existing enterprises. “For-profit businesses of any type are eligible for an interest free loan of up to $20,000,” Mr. Mertes reports. Funds can be used for a wide range of improvements, from equipment purchases and interior build outs to technology upgrades. “It is a very flexible program.” A small business sales tax rebate program allows small retailers to reinvest local sales taxes back into their businesses. Industrial businesses can take advantage of Cook County’s Class 6b property tax abatement program, which is designed “to help renovate and invigorate long vacant industrial buildings in our community.”
Several new or proposed developments within the Village are providing opportunities for incoming businesses. Mr. Perkins references the Arlington Downs mixed-use development as a prime example. “The Arlington Downs redevelopment was a case study in reinventing distressed properties. Located on the site of a shuttered hotel, the redevelopment includes a new hotel, high end residential, retail, office, and the reopening of a water park. This will add significant economic benefits to the region. A project such as Arlington Downs cannot happen without both public and private entities working together towards a common goal.” The first phase of the $250 million project – 215 luxury apartments – has already been completed and is approximately 90% leased. The hotel and commercial sections of the development are expected to break ground soon.
In Downtown Arlington Heights, another new development is planned. Parkview Apartments will include 1,314 square feet of commercial space, 60 indoor parking spaces and 45 rental apartments, seven of which will qualify as affordable housing. Meanwhile, the nearby Hickory-Kensington Redevelopment Area is proposed for future mixed-use development, offering development opportunities for three-to-five stories of residential with first-floor commercial space, in addition to single-family townhomes and other smaller multi-family housing. “This is an opportunity to reinvigorate that area and bring more residents near our downtown,” Mr. Mertes points out.
Arlington Heights’ business opportunities are complemented by a high quality of life; entertainment options abound. “We have great, unique entertainment and experiences,” Mr. Mertes remarks. Perhaps most notably, the Village is home to the internationally renowned Arlington Park, a leading thoroughbred horseracing facility. “Arlington Park is one of the top thoroughbred racing venues in the world.” Host to the Arlington Million, the trendsetting facility held the first horserace in the world with a $1 million dollar purse. Other attractions include a dine-in movie theater, Star Cinema Grill, and the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, which provides arts education in addition to top-notch professional entertainment including live theatre, comedy, and music. Arlington Heights’ Mitsuwa Marketplace is the Midwest’s largest Japanese grocer, and offers not only groceries but also authentic Japanese dining and retail shopping. “It serves not just a local population, but also a large tourist population that comes from across the Midwest to shop there,” Mr. Mertes reports.
The Village’s downtown also provides ample shopping opportunities from both independent and national retailers, as well as numerous entertainment options. “Downtown is a great mix of retail, dining, service, entertainment, and also year round events and festivals.” The downtown can be reached quickly and easily from virtually all of the surrounding suburbs. “We do have a great downtown that is served by one of our two train stations,” Mr. Mertes points out. The Village’s Uptown Shopping District located along Rand Road also features many national retailers and restaurants.
The Village’s local library, the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, was ranked as a five star library by Library Journal. “It is one of only 85 libraries in the country that has that designation, and one of only three in Illinois.” In addition, the Village’s Park District boasts a wide range of recreational and cultural facilities, as well as over 50 public parks within the community.
Arlington Heights is also served by a top-notch public school district. “Public school district 214 has six high schools, all of which are ranked among the top 40 high schools in all of Illinois by US News & World Report. And Hersey High School, located in Arlington Heights, was ranked by US News & World Report as one of the top ten high schools in the state.” The Village also offers private education, and St. Viator High School is one of only three private high schools in the entire state of Illinois to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon high school in 2014. Higher education is also represented as both Robert Morris University and ITT Technical Institute have campuses in the community as well.
With easy access to Chicago and the surrounding metro area, and a wealth of local business opportunities, Arlington Heights is well placed to continue its growth and success. “It is an exciting time,” Mr. Mertes remarks. “There is definitely a lot going on. We are a growing, thriving community that continues to build upon its assets. We look to be a great destination for any prospective resident or business and our Village is happy to assist both prospective and existing businesses and residents within the community in any way we can.”