Historic Hoffman Estates farmhouse to be razed after builder doesn't show up to save it
The 119-year-old but dilapidated Bergman farmhouse in Hoffman Estates -- which some hoped for the past four years a builder interested in restoring it for its historic value would be found -- won't be getting any older.
The only builder who had demonstrated such interest, along with the financial resources to make it realistic, didn't show up Monday night for what the village board had previously said would be his final extension to fund the required $290,000 escrow guaranteeing completion of the project.
Even if Chad Evans, manager of CASE Properties LLC, had been at Monday's village board meeting, the extension would have automatically expired within 24 hours anyway without the full funding of the escrow.
Village Manager Jim Norris said communication from Evans had already dropped off in recent weeks.
Plans are now underway for the demolition of the house on Algonquin Road west of Ela Road to make way for open park land likely to be deeded to the Hoffman Estates Park District.
Village historian Pat Barch, though emotional, expressed her thanks to the village board Monday for having tried for so long to find someone to preserve the house.
"It is such a sad day to hear the final decision," Barch said. "I understand it. I really do."
The idea of restoring the house was pitched in 2015 as developer M/I Homes began building the 81-home Bergman Pointe subdivision adjacent to the old farmhouse.
While M/I Homes had no interest itself in restoring the house, it didn't oppose another party doing so.
Members of the village board never wanted to commit taxpayer money to preserve the house but believed it had sufficient historic value to postpone demolition.
A study by Benjamin Historic Certifications of Highland Park in 2015 concluded that the Bergman house would be a strong contender for listing on the National Historic Register because it was owned by four generations of the same family without any significant changes.
The study determined the house had been built about 1900 by Daniel Bergman Sr. His grandson Harold, who continued to grow hay on the property until his retirement and sale of the land in 2015, was born in the house in 1916.
Though village officials' original hope was to preserve the house as some type of public amenity, the only two proposals submitted in 2016 were to restore it for private residential use.
Of the two, only that of Evans and CASE Properties demonstrated sufficient financial resources, but they never took advantage of any of several requested extensions to begin the project.
M/I Homes is nearing the completion of the new subdivision and told the village it would like the fate of the farmhouse property it still owns to be determined before then.