Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59 will demolish the former Wellington restaurant building in Arlington Heights it acquired this summer, officials decided this week.
Since closing on a $1.8 million purchase of the property at 2121 S. Arlington Heights Road in July, officials have debated whether to tear down the 22,000-square-foot building, or renovate and repurpose it for the district's needs.
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In the short-term, it was thought that the district could use the old banquet hall facility for training and meeting space, freeing up some room in the district's cramped administration center, which is the neighboring property at 2123 S. Arlington Heights Road.
But it was decided that renovating the facility would have been too costly, since various parts of the building aren't up to local codes, said district spokeswoman Betsy Boswell.
Some codes were "grandfathered in" after the restaurant opened in 1983, but once the change in ownership happened, those exemptions went away, Boswell said.
"It just became apparent that it would be too expensive to convert," she said. "It had a lot of issues ... I don't think there was ever much chance that we would have reused the building."
Demolition contractors interested in bidding for the teardown work were scheduled to tour the site Wednesday. Bids are due Oct. 8, and the school board is expected to select a contractor and formally authorize the demolition work Oct. 15.
It's also likely that the site will require environmental remediation due to asbestos, Boswell said.
The district plans to convene its facilities advisory committee to determine the future of the Wellington property. The committee is comprised of the district's director of buildings and grounds, two school board members, and other administrators and staff.
The iconic restaurant, which had been up for sale since 2009 due to declining business, finally closed its doors in August 2012.
In advance of the building demolition, district officials have been trying to get rid of most of what the restaurant owners left behind. During a public auction last week, the district sold about $50,000 worth of old desks, tables, chairs, plates, silverware and other items. Some of the what remains will be for sale on an online auction site.
Demolition of the building is expected before the end of the year.