One Arlington – Daily Herald

Published: June 29, 2019

‘We’re not giving up’: Next phase of Arlington Downs project about to begin

Daily Herald | Christopher Placek | June 29, 2019

Shovels should be in the ground soon on the next phase of the stalled Arlington Downs project — the massive $320 million mixed-use redevelopment west of Arlington International Racecourse.

Plans for a five-story, 263-unit apartment building on the southeast corner of the 27-acre site on Euclid Avenue are in for final permit review with the village. There’s still one technical issue to be resolved before the permit can be issued and construction begins, said Charles Witherington-Perkins, the village’s director of planning and community development.

It would take an estimated 20 months to finish building the apartments, and perhaps some five years for the entire redevelopment to come to fruition, including a proposed hotel, additional residential units, and retail outlots.

“Once they get the apartments started, hopefully then other things will fall into place,” Witherington-Perkins said Friday.

The village board approved original plans in 2012, but the developer made revisions as the market changed. The initial proposal called for reopening a shuttered indoor water park, building a six-story hotel and having up to 71,000 square feet of commercial space.

The latest plans call for a climbing wall recreation facility inside the old water park, a scaled-down four-story hotel, and some 40,000 square feet of retail.

The project revisions received approval from the village board last September, and trustees signed off on a final plat of subdivision last week, paving the way for construction to begin.

“This has taken way longer than anybody wanted,” said David Trandel, chairman/CEO of Springbank Real Estate Group, which is leading the redevelopment. “But we’re going to see it through. We’re not giving up.”

“The good news is we didn’t do something that might not have worked,” he said. “We had some ideas early and the world changed on us. Now we got to make it more relevant for the next 20 years than what we might have wanted early.”

Trandel said Springbank sold 2 acres of land to Indianapolis-based General Hotels Corp., which will build a four-story, 116-room hotel near the Euclid Avenue/Rohlwing Road intersection. The hotelier is still planning to operate the hotel flag Vib, the urban boutique hotel concept of Best Western.

As for the former CoCo Key water park, the project team a year ago announced plans to turn half the space into First Ascent, which would offer courses for climbers of varying skill along with exercise classes and gym equipment, and the other half into Funtopia, a family entertainment center.

But Witherington-Perkins said Friday that First Ascent now plans to take up the entire 46,000-square-foot building.

The old water park is attached to the One Arlington residential tower, formerly a Sheraton hotel, which was renovated and became the first piece of the development to open in 2015.

Future phases call for a 55-and-older residential building on the southeast corner of the site, and a 360-unit residential development on the northwest corner.