STOCK_Highland Town Hall

The Highland Town Council has highballed the payments it has pledged for the West Lake Corridor extension project to stretch the South Shore Railroad to Dyer.

HIGHLAND — The Plan Commission on Wednesday gave the nod for Cardinal Campus to head to the drawing board and prepare for construction.

With a unanimous vote, the board gave final approval for the nine-acre project that will spring up at the corner of Main Street and Prairie Avenue and include seven two-story office buildings and a 30-room boutique hotel.

It is estimated Cardinal Campus will take about seven years to complete after ground is broken in Highland.

"We still expect to break ground this fall," said Buffalo Grove veterinary surgeon Claude Gendreau, who owns the property.

Gendreau said general contractors are now being interviewed for construction work on the complex, which will have a price tag of $50 million to $60 million.

One of the first tasks will be installing infrastructure, such as underground drainage and a new road that will meander from Main Street and head northwest — across the complex — to Prairie.

The road will be comprised of water permeable red paver bricks, project manager Tim Kirkby said.

"They're trying for (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification," commission Chairman Mark Schocke noted.

Gendreau said the project will be done in three phases, beginning with three of the office buildings over about 18 months.

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Each of the buildings will be approximately 12,000 square feet in size.

While the hotel is planned for the final phase, it could go up during the second phase, depending on tenant demand for the first buildings, Gendreau said.

He said that his 18-room boutique hotel in Homewood is doing very well and has been near capacity for the past several months.

It is possible that there could be some spillover from that hotel to the Highland one in the future, he said.

Gendreau also noted that a study on the best use of this land, performed about 12 years ago, suggested something similar to Cardinal Campus.

A traffic light will be installed at Main and Prairie, which will probably be paid for by the developer, Building Commissioner Ken Mika said.

Kirkby noted that the area was made a tax increment financing district several years ago.

Funds from the TIF will probably help fund part of the infrastructure, including the brick road, which will be owned and maintained by the complex, board members said.

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