Itasca is arguably one of DuPage County’s most thriving communities, largely thanks to its proximity to I-290, Route 53 and the new I-390. As realtors say: it’s all about location, location, location and Itasca has a location that others envy.
Its incredible accessibility to Chicago (via the Milwaukee West line and several expressways) and also to nearby O’Hare International Airport made it the place that Hamilton Partners chose to build its 308-acre Hamilton Lakes complex during the early 1980s which has spurred local growth ever since.
“We view Hamilton Partners as an important economic development partner. They have made tremendous multi-million dollar investments over the last few years on renovations to their office facilities and significant wayfinding and gateway signage enhancements to remain competitive and attract tenants looking for high quality, modern facilities,” explained Shannon Malik Jarmusz, Itasca’s Director of Community Development.
RagingWire, a data center company, will soon break ground within Hamilton Lakes on a 460,000-square-foot facility on 20 acres near the intersection of Hamilton Lakes Drive and Pierce Road. They had announced the project last year but it was paused by company executives as they re-evaluated their plans. Now they are ready to resume moving forward and will build two free-standing buildings instead of one. This will be RagingWire’s first data center in the Midwest.
Founded in 2000, RagingWire operates by “co-locating” multiple firms’ computing systems in a single data center (or now in centers all over the world). RagingWire’s idea was to build a data center that could be repaired while it was running and is not even susceptible to a utility outage. The industry term used today for these types of facilities is “concurrently maintainable and fault tolerant” and is now considered to be a “best practice”.
Malik Jarmusz indicated that because of the nature of the data center business, the use will not have a significant impact on the surrounding roadway system, resulting in less traffic and wear and tear than a typical office use. This is because data centers tend to have less on-site employees than what would be expected with most offices. In addition, the Village will receive a significant increase in utility tax revenue due to the high electrical usage required by such facilities.
Other big news involves Bridge Development Partners, LLC acquiring a 48-acre site near the intersection of Rohlwing Road and Devon Avenue. It is the last large open parcel of land of its size, left within the Village and was sold to Bridge by Entercom Communications Corp. which merged with CBS Radio in November, 2017.
Bridge plans to build a state-of-the-art industrial complex called Bridge Point Itasca, totaling 741,621 square feet across three state-of-the-art distribution/logistics centers. All three buildings will be designed to accommodate a single tenant or multiple tenants and will be divisible down to 25,000-square-foot units. The development will also include more than seven acres of land which is zoned for 48,000 square feet of retail use along Rohlwing Road on the west.
“We are so proud of this acquisition, and anxious to start construction on what we believe will be the premier business park in the O’Hare market,” Steve Groetsema, partner, Midwest region at Bridge, said. “The benefits of this park, namely the DuPage County location west of the airport, the interstate access, and the image offered by the visibility would all make this an appealing location on their own. Offering all three in one location, with on-site retail amenities to be developed as well, makes this irreplaceable real estate in our eyes.”
“This is a very important project for Itasca, too,” said Malik Jarmusz. “It is in a prime location adjoining I-290, I-390 and Route 53 and a rare redevelopment opportunity due to its size in built-out DuPage County. The Village began envisioning a meaningful development for this site a few years back, since it was only a matter of time before technological advances made the on-site towers no longer necessary in this location. We had a real opportunity to ensure a high quality development by partnering with Bridge while at the same time, realizing some of the Village’s longer-term goals to see retail along the Rohlwing Road corridor.”
Itasca attracted 26 new businesses during 2018 including H2O Auto Spa and United Business Mail. They also expect Kiddie Academy to soon begin work on a new day care facility at Prospect Courtyard and see growth in medical/surgical offices ahead. The Bank of Itasca is investing in site enhancements including a building addition and reconfiguring the parking lot to better serve its customers.
The Village also recently received an $80,000 grant from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) to complete a Downtown Strategic Action Plan update. Malik Jarmusz indicated that the Village will participate in a project kickoff meeting with RTA and CMAP staff soon and there will be plenty of opportunities for public comment and participation as the planning process gets underway in coming months.
The Village was also happy to reveal its new logo which was painted on the water tower on Prospect Avenue at 390 this summer. The new logo was the result of a community branding initiative completed earlier this year which sought the input of residents and the business community.
Additional residential development is also coming.
“A 16-unit townhouse community called Highland Gates is currently under construction on the west side Route 53, south of Irving Park Road. In addition, a number of single family subdivision requests have been approved and Landmark Custom Homes is completing their Pierce Place development within Hamilton Lakes with eight new townhomes. It couldn’t be a more exciting time for the Village of Itasca,” said Malik Jarmusz.