Mount Prospect train station, dozens more could be sold

  • Mount Prospect officials are discussing what it might mean for the village of Union Pacific sells land at its downtown train station for redevelopment.

    Mount Prospect officials are discussing what it might mean for the village of Union Pacific sells land at its downtown train station for redevelopment. Courtesy of Mike Zarnek/Village of Mount Prospect

 
Updated 10/7/2021 3:59 PM

Mount Prospect officials are discussing the possible redevelopment of land surrounding the downtown Metra train station property, amid reports Union Pacific is looking to sell the land there and at dozens of other suburban commuter stations.

The area in Mount Prospect includes the parking lots along Northwest Highway from southeast of Maple Street to northwest of Route 83.

 

Union Pacific has been trying to sell dozens of train station properties to a developer, according to village documents, which could mean millions of dollars of revenue for the railroad company. Among the other 40 sites are Arlington Heights, Arlington Park, Des Plaines, Palatine, Barrington, Fox River Grove, Cary, Crystal Lake, Harvard, McHenry, Villa Park, Lombard, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Winfield, West Chicago and Elburn.

Assistant Mount Prospect Village Manager Nellie Beckner said village staff is meeting about the possible sale this week.

"Obviously, we would love to have control over the parking lots in the train station, because that's a key element of our downtown," she said.

The latest communication from Metra to the village was sent on Sept. 29. It indicated that on Sept. 23, UP informed Metra that the company had entered into an agreement to sell the property at 41 stations for approximately $50.9 million.

"While it reflects a master contract for 41 stations, the notice is clear that the developer may elect to not purchase individual stations," the Metra communication states.

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It also states that "the buyer's development and use of each station shall not impair UP's performance of its obligations under the agreement with Metra."

Metra, it stated, would have the opportunity to purchase each station on the same terms and conditions, but the window for that would close after Nov. 5.

"Metra very much wishes to navigate this situation with each municipality," the letter states. expressing the commuter rail service's willingness to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with each municipality to purchase that municipality's station and transfer the station to the municipality, which would finance the cost of acquisition.

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