Although industrial use might be the most logical for 12 acres Prospect Heights owns on the east side of the city, an early version of a marketing study brought officials a few surprise suggestions.
The land on Piper Lane on the south side of Palatine Road, east of Wolf Road and west of Milwaukee Avenue is what the municipality still owns from the failed arena project in the 1990s. The city owes $5.4 million on bonds it issued to purchase the property, and authorities want to sell it.
The prospect of a sports center such as a trampoline park or soccer or lacrosse fields under an inflatable dome could be more popular with area residents than industrial uses, Mayor Nick Helmer said Tuesday. Last year, protests of neighbors waylaid a plan for an asphalt plant on the land.
Potential industrial users include companies that deal in food, electronics, plastics, home improvement or that fill orders for Internet sellers, according to the draft report from Gruen Gruen and Associates, whose Midwest office is in Deerfield.
Some businesses, such as electrical contractors that do business with the county, need to be in Cook County despite its property taxes that are higher than nearby Lake or Kenosha counties, the report said.
A company that needs land for a truck fleet or outdoor storage might be willing to pay a premium because of the size of the parcel. Helmer said companies that sell propane gas also might be interested.
The property's advantages include access to major streets and O'Hare International Airport and Chicago Executive Airports, the report said. Food catering is one use that could be attracted by the location near the airports.
Office use is unlikely, given a 22 percent vacancy rate in the Northwest suburbs, the study said.
The region's diverse and skilled labor pool is a plus, and companies already in the area -- especially in Wheeling -- might choose the land to consolidate or replace obsolete facilities.
The city can help with zoning and other governmental issues, the report said. And the city should be ready to offer tax incentives such as the county's 6B program that greatly reduces the property tax assessment for a number of years, the report said. The city also should get estimates of the cost to demolish the building on the property.
The arena plan was abandoned in 2004 when the city's voters rejected issuing an additional $25 million in general obligation bonds to fund the project.