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Hoffman education company seeks to fill empty Schaumburg building
By Eric Peterson | Daily Herald Staff

Hoffman Estates-based Career Education Corp. is seeking a Cook County property tax incentive to relocate to the former IBM building in Schaumburg at 231 Martingale Road.


Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

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Published: 8/17/2009 5:17 PM

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A Hoffman Estates-based higher education company with campuses across the U.S. and Europe is seeking a Cook County property tax incentive to move its headquarters to the former IBM building in Schaumburg.

Career Education Corp. is currently located at 2895 Greenspoint Parkway, Suite 600, in Hoffman Estates, but plans to take over the entirety of the 11-story, 300,000-square-foot building at 231 Martingale Road in Schaumburg. The building has been completely refurbished since IBM moved out three years ago.

The company serves 90,000 students at more than 75 career-oriented campuses in the U.S., United Kingdom, Italy and France.

Among its Chicago-area campuses are the International Academy of Design & Technology in Schaumburg, the Harrington College of Design and The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago.

Among the other institutions it runs in the U.S. are the multiple campuses of American InterContinental University, Colorado Technical University, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and Sanford-Brown College.

The move the company is seeking would consolidate several different branches under one roof, Schaumburg's Economic Development Coordinator Matt Frank said.

But the corporation's interest in the now vacant building overlooking Route 53 is contingent on its receiving a Class 7B tax incentive from the county.

This would reduce the level of assessment on the property from 25 percent to 10 percent for 10 years. The assessment would then gradually return to normal during the 11th and 12th years, Frank said.

In return, the currently empty building would be filled with 1,100 full-time employees earning an average salary of $50,000.

The Class 7B incentive is something that's never been offered in Schaumburg before and the village's willingness to consider it now could be considered a symptom of the current economy, Frank said. Its use in this instance is a way to eradicate a major vacancy in one shot and prevent blight from setting in, he added.

"We have been experiencing higher office vacancies and structures that have been sitting vacant for awhile," Frank said.

Class 7B ­- which is specifically for office buildings -is similar to Class 6B for manufacturing buildings, which has been used previously in the community.

The review process for Class 7B takes about two months, beginning with the village board's consideration on Aug. 25 before going to the county for review.

Even if Class 7B is approved for this building, Frank said, he doesn't expect to see it become something commonly used by the village in the future.

Corporation officials could not be reached for comment Monday.