South Barrington Park District again auctions land, but identity of winning bidder isn’t clear

Thirty-four acres of undeveloped South Barrington Park District land called “Area N” has once again sold at auction, but the identity of the winning bidder isn’t clear.

A representative of a group called Area N Development LLC offered $2.3 million for the property at Bartlett Road and Route 59 during a live, in-person auction held Wednesday at park district headquarters. But the representative didn’t provide contact information for the company or its owners, said Lee Filas, a spokesman for the park district.

A company called Area N Development is registered with the Delaware Division of Corporations. According to public data, it formed Feb. 20 and is based in Wilmington, Delaware.

Area N Development’s registered agent is InCorp Services, a Las Vegas company that helps others incorporate, according to the Delaware database.

Rick Levin, whose namesake company held the auction, declined to comment or reveal anything about the winning bidder “as a courtesy to the parties.”

Following the auction, the park district board unanimously approved the sale to Area N Development at its scheduled meeting Wednesday night. A closing date wasn’t publicized.

The board pulled out of a deal last year to sell the property — a former tree nursery the district acquired in 2003 — after concerns arose about the religious group that was the only bidder in a previous auction.

Park district voters in April 2023 directed parks leaders to sell the land. Officials have said the money generated would be used to improve local parks.

The winner of last year’s auction was a Schaumburg-based religious group called Fourth Avenue Gospel Building Inc., which offered about $1.7 million for the property. Fourth Avenue representatives said they wanted to build a house of worship and a school on the land.

Fourth Avenue is owned and operated by a suburban congregation of a relatively small group called the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church.

Dozens of area residents protested the deal once the potential buyer was publicly identified last summer. In interviews and public comments, opponents cited traffic, the proposed use of the land and some of the Plymouth Brethren's practices among their concerns.

  Demonstrators gathered last year outside the South Barrington Park District headquarters to protest the planned sale of park land to a religious group. The sale eventually was canceled and a new auction was held Wednesday. Russell Lissau/, 2023

Ultimately, the park district board in September voted to terminate the sale and hold a new auction as allowed by the terms of the 2023 referendum.

A Fourth Avenue spokesman couldn’t be reached Thursday.

The representative for Area N Development was one of two active bidders Wednesday, although a total of five potential bidders attended the auction. The second active bidder didn’t identify himself or who he represented, Filas said.

A group called Area N Development LLC is set to buy 34 acres of undeveloped land at Bartlett Road and Route 59 from the South Barrington Park District. It was the highest bidder at an auction Wednesday, offering $2.3 million. Courtesy of South Barrington

Parks board President Pete Perisin said he’s excited about the auction results, noting that the winning bid was significantly greater than the last proposed purchase price. That will allow the district to make more improvements than originally proposed, he said.

“Every dime of this is going right back to the parks,” Perisin said.

Perisin said he doesn’t know anything about Area N Development or whether Fourth Avenue was behind any of the bids.

“I have not spoken to the church in four months,” Perisin said.

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