District 38, Fox Lake look forward to developing site
They've had offers before, but officials in Big Hollow Elementary District 38 hope the economy has improved enough for a potential developer to follow through with the purchase of property the district owns along Route 12 in Fox Lake.
The village, too, is anxious at the development potential of the 13 acres at the southeast corner and already has met with the would-be buyer regarding possibilities.
"We've had several contracts on the property, but two or three fell through. We believe it was the economy," school board President Heather Janquart said.
Interest was rekindled when the district again put the property on the market.
A public bidding process was initiated and the school board last week in a special meeting accepted the sole bid of $3.6 million from The Faigus Group Ltd., of Highland Park.
The Big Hollow Primary and Taveirne Middle School buildings were demolished in 2010 and the property eventually was put on the market for $5 million. The asking price was lowered in 2011 to $4.2 million but no action ensued.
For the recent bidding process, the property was divided into three parcels.
"It's serious," Superintendent Bob Gold said. "We've accepted the bid (and) he's put some money down." The company deposited a $25,000 check with the district, he added.
Company President Eugene Faigus could not be reached for comment Monday.
However, company officials have met with the village to discuss "incentives and different options," Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit said.
"We're pretty excited about the property selling," Schmit said. "We'll do what we can to make this a reality," he added. The property is advertised as a commercial corner, but no specific proposals have been publicly discussed.
The offers were $1.65 million for the piece at the corner of routes 12 and 134, and $975,000 each for the two on Route 12 to the south.
Whether any or all make it to a real estate closing is unknown.
Faigus has six months -- which can be extended -- to perform "due diligence" on the first piece, and six months beyond that for each of the remaining pieces.
"They've had deals before and had people bail out," said Gold, who joined the district in June.
The sale would be welcome for District 38, which has experienced financial challenges in recent years
The school board Monday was scheduled to approve $3.9 million in tax anticipation warrants, a short-term borrowing tool. Janquart said the property is an asset the district wants to sell. "I would like to see some business there," she said. "It does not help us having the property sitting vacant."