Life Amplified

For the Record

May 21, 2020
Dave Niemeyer Headshot (small)
As many of you may remember, last year the Village was in talks to buy and annex the 114-acre parcel of property at the northeast corner of Vollmer Road and Harlem Avenue from developer Rick Heidner. While those talks ultimately fell through, I’m happy to report we’ve been able to work out an agreement that allows the Village to annex the land into Tinley Park and retain control over what will be developed there.
 
The land has always been in the Village’s planning area per the boundary agreement with Matteson in which both communities agreed the area should eventually become part of Tinley Park. The boundary agreement expired a number of years ago, and attempts to renew the agreement with Matteson have been unsuccessful. This is important because, without annexation, the Village would lose control over what’s developed there should another community such as Matteson try to incorporate it into their municipal boundaries.
 
In 2019, Mr. Heidner bought the property as a possible site for a racino. When those plans fell through, he sought approval for Office, Research and Limited Industrial (ORI) zoning, which would allow for various uses on the property. At that time, however, the Village Board was not supportive of his request.
 
The Village’s interest was renewed in 2020, however, when Amazon announced it was going to build a four-story distribution warehouse, with a 3.8 million-square-foot floor area, on the southeast corner of Vollmer and Harlem, thus changing the character of the entire area and making the Heidner property much more valuable for distribution warehousing. The Village negotiated with Mr. Heidner to buy and annex the property to control development of the site. Unfortunately, these talks fell through. After this, Mr. Heidner signed a contract with Scannell Properties to sell the land to them at a significantly higher cost than what we were discussing buying it for from him.
 
Recently, the parties met and were able to reach an agreement. Scannell’s plans propose a multi-phased industrial business park development with approximately 1.3 million square feet of floor space over three industrial buildings in the Office, Research and Limited Industrial (ORI) Zoning District.
 
One of the Village’s main priorities with this new development is to reduce the impact of noise and traffic on the surrounding neighborhoods. To this end, the Village’s planning staff has been working with Scannell to provide for a high-quality and safe business park. Features will include:
 
  • A minimum three-foot-high landscaped berm along Harlem Avenue to screen the view of any future truck docks
  • The extension of a public watermain beyond the site to create redundancy in the overall area’s water supply
  • Space to locate a new Village emergency radio tower that improves emergency communication in the area
  • A walkway/path along Harlem Avenue that will eventually connect to a larger path system along Oak park Avenue
  • Street lighting
The business park’s layout was designed in a way to provide efficient and safe truck circulation inside the site and on the adjacent roadways, and it allows for truck and employee access to signalized intersections.
 
As always, I will keep you up to date on this and other developments around town in future For the Record columns and at Village Board meetings. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line at dniemeyer@tinleypark.org.
Niemeyer Signature