Former Sherman Hospital campus up for auction in Elgin
The former Sherman Hospital campus north of downtown Elgin is up for auction, and the mayor and the local neighborhood group stress the importance of any buyer having a solid, well-researched plan.
The 13.7-acre campus at 901 Center St. includes three vacant buildings totaling 254,000 square feet and is described as "ready for creative development" by the auction firm Rick Levin & Associates, Inc. The suggested opening bid is $1.5 million. On-site inspections begin April 25, and the deadline for bids is May 21.
"Anyone who buys that land has to have a plan, and it has to be a plan that will keep the city happy and will keep the neighborhood happy," said K. Eric Larson, president of the Northeast Neighborhood Association of Elgin.
Mayor David Kaptain agreed.
"They would have to come in with a plan with what they want to do with the property. They'd have to discuss it with the neighborhood, examine zoning ... It's millions of dollars worth of work," Kaptain said.
Sherman Hospital moved in 2009 to a new campus on Randall Road and later became part of Advocate Health. The Center Street site held some physicians' offices until last year and has been vacant since December, Advocate Sherman Hospital spokeswoman Kathleen Troher said.
The campus was listed for sale in March 2018 by a commercial real estate broker with no specific asking price, Troher said. The property includes an open field where the old hospital was demolished.
When the hospital put up for sale two parking lots on the property about four years ago, the neighborhood association conducted a survey that showed most residents wanted a park or open space there. Residents also would be happy with residential development, but only if it fits with the character of the neighborhood, Larson said. Business development was the least popular option, he said.
When asked how the sale will affect the neighborhood, Troher said, "It will be important for the next owners of the property to work with the city and neighborhood on a comprehensive plan that meets the needs of all interested parties. As the new owners focus on the property's future, we will continue to help the community live well."
Larson said the association was notified by the hospital about the auction this year. Larson and another association representative met with Advocate Sherman Hospital President Linda Deering and other hospital officials, who said property maintenance was costing them money, Larson said.
"Frankly it's their property ... and they have every right to sell it," he said. However, "they should avoid simply selling the property and then the person figuring out later the challenges," he said.
The property is composed of 25 parcels, 22 tax-exempt and three subject to taxes that amounted to $65,543 in 2017, according to documents on the auction site. Those three parcels included a cell tower lease and leases to for-profit physicians or physician groups, Troher said.