DHL Innovation Center Closer To Development After ZBA Meeting
By MIRIAM FINDER ANNENBERG
Journal & Topics Reporter
The DHL Innovation Center project took a step forward Feb. 6 when Rosemont Zoning Board of Appeals members approved a special use designation to develop land at the Pointe O’Hare location.
The public hearing also addressed variances in signage and parking requested by DHL, which was brought before the board by JB Pearl LLC.
Rosemont Village Board members will take the ZBA’s recommendation into consideration when they make a final decision on the issue at their Wednesday (Feb. 14) meeting.
“They’re registering as special use,” said Village Attorney John Donahue. “They’re seeking to build approximately 27,905 square feet.”
The Innovation Center plans to encompass office space, a showroom, and exhibition space as one of just three DHL Innovation Centers worldwide.
During the Feb. 6 public hearing, Zoning Board of Appeals members recommended approval of seven sign variances for a total of 10 signs. Signs include a 58-ft. wide by 5-ft. high illuminated sign, a 50-ft. by 11-ft. high wall sign, and a 19-ft. wide by 1-ft., 4-in. high illuminated sign all with the words “Innovation Center.”
Additional signs include a 44-ft. wide by 9-ft. high sign with the slogan “Inspire” and a 52-ft. by 10-ft. sign with the slogan “Our Direction: Our Future.”
Four remaining signs involve the DHL logo on each side of the building.
Although plans for the center first came before the zoning board in May 2017, the building was then planned for part of Rosemont’s $80 million, 16-acre Pearl District, a mixed-use development featuring office space, restaurants and the new Rose boutique hotel at Pearl Street and Balmoral Avenue. It was reported then that DHL was leasing the land from a partnership between Braden Real Estate and the Janko Group, the latter of which remains involved with the project.
DHL sought relocation of its building because the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency had yet to issue a No Further Remediation letter regarding the proposed site. A letter of No Further Remediation acknowledges that a site has met at Illinois EPA Bureau of Land laws and regulations.
“That location didn’t work out for DHL,” Jim Purinton said, head of development at Janko Group.
In mid-January, DHL and Rosemont announced that the Innovation Center would relocate to a 1.4-acre site at Pointe O’Hare at the northeast corner of Higgins Road and Shafer Court. DHL will occupy the last vacant parcel at the site.
While some changes to the original plans accompany the move, they’re expected to be minor.
“We aren’t really changing the configuration,” Purinton said.
While the new site plan reduces off-site parking from 82 spots to 72 at a nearby garage, both their off-site and on-site parking meets Rosemont requirements.
About 30 people are expected to work out of the center, but larger groups will frequently visit the site, something Donahue said will bring more economic activity to the village.