Do you want to buy an old village hall? Mundelein's could soon be for sale
Mundelein officials have agreed to seek a buyer for the former village hall building on Hawley Street.
They've also rejected a recommendation to limit the search to restaurateurs.
"I would like to see it put on the market and let the market decide what it is," Trustee Terri Voss said during Monday's village board meeting.
The board's decision to develop a sales plan for the site at 440 E. Hawley St. doesn't mean the 86-year-old, Alpine-style building will survive. Officials acknowledged a potential buyer might want to tear down the building and put up something new.
A potential buyer might consider the building a financial liability because of the work that'd be needed to remodel the structure and meet safety and accessibility codes, Village Administrator John Lobaito said.
A new village hall at 300 Plaza Circle opened last summer. The old building has stood unused since then.
A specially created committee spent months studying options for the old building. In a report delivered last month, the group favored turning the site into a restaurant or an arts center.
On Monday, trustees said they didn't want to limit their options when it came to finding a potential buyer.
The land may be a good spot for a restaurant, but "pretty much any place in town is a good place to put a restaurant," Voss said.
The proposal on Monday's agenda called for officials to market the property as "a prime location for a restaurant."
After much discussion, the trustees unanimously agreed to strike that clause.
"If it's a prime location, a (restaurateur) will know," Voss said.
They also decided to strike a reference to the building itself because the land might be more appealing to a buyer.
Renovating the building for a new use could cost at least $800,000, the committee reported. Conversely, demolishing the structure could cost $158,000, the group said.
During Monday's board meeting, Trustee Ed Sullivan questioned those figures, saying the remodeling estimate is "substantially low."
Sullivan also claimed the demolition estimate was too high, and added that razing the structure and building something new likely would be less expensive than remodeling the existing facility.
Trustee Robin Meier, who led the committee, admitted the remodeling cost was low, saying it's a "ballpark" estimate.
Sullivan also opposed the idea of turning the building into a public arts center. The site is in a special taxing district, and a government-run arts facility wouldn't serve the aim of that enterprise, he said.
Even so, as part of the village hall discussion, all six trustees voted to explore creating a local arts and cultural commission.
The village hall report is available on the village's website, mundelein.org.