Gurnee to auction two village-owned cell towers

 
 
Updated 1/11/2019 6:26 PM
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  • This cell tower, located 250 feet northwest of the Gurnee police station, is one of two that the village intends to sell at auction.

    This cell tower, located 250 feet northwest of the Gurnee police station, is one of two that the village intends to sell at auction. Courtesy of the Village of Gurnee

The village of Gurnee is getting out of the cell tower landlord business.

For years, the village has made money renting equipment space on towers near the police and public works buildings, but this week the board voted to auction them for one-time payments.

"We think we want to sell them off now so we don't have to continue to manage them," said Jack Linehan, the assistant to the village manager. "We think the money up front is going to be better than the continuous revenue."

Linehan said the village currently makes about $98,000 per year renting space for communications companies like T-Mobile and Sprint so they can install equipment that provides cellphone and 4G wireless internet service to their customers. He said it has been hard to find tenants for the towers, and while the steady money has been nice, it's tough to know how long it will last.

"The question is: 50 years from now, will they even be used?" Linehan said. "It's so hard to predict, so it's best to capitalize the assets, move on and use those funds."

The two towers will be sold by a company called Cell at Auction LLC. The company will get paid only if the towers sell for more than a minimum price set by the village. Linehan said officials aren't releasing that minimum price.

The tower for sale near the police station isn't the one directly behind the building, which Linehan said houses the village's radio equipment and is not for sale. The one being sold is about 250 feet northwest of the other tower and is accessible by Brookhaven Road.

The auction for the towers probably won't begin until February, Linehan said, and bids will be open for 90 days.

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