How Nokia land in Naperville could be divided, sold

  • This land at the northern edge of the Nokia property in Naperville could be turned into a 67-acre lot for sale for future development, pending city council approval of the company's subdivision request.

    This land at the northern edge of the Nokia property in Naperville could be turned into a 67-acre lot for sale for future development, pending city council approval of the company's subdivision request. Daily Herald file photo April 2018

 
 
Updated 11/13/2019 12:01 PM

Nokia has been attempting to sell off part of its property in Naperville since at least 2011, and now the telecommunications company has plans to sell the entire 175-acre parcel.

But before moving forward with a planned sale to Lincoln Property Company, Nokia needs city council approval of its request to separate the land at 1960 and 2000 Lucent Lane into four lots and a 20-acre outlot for stormwater.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The first proposed lot holds a city electric substation; the second holds the now-vacant building at 1960 Lucent Lane, which was emptied as Nokia consolidated its employees at the site into one building; the third lot contains the building at 2000 Lucent Lane, which Nokia plans to lease back to continue holding its office and lab space after the sale; and the fourth will consist of 67 vacant acres for future development, once two small buildings are torn down.

The planning and zoning commission gave unanimous approval to the request to subdivide the land during a meeting last week, with members approving variances to parking and building locations that would be necessary based on the proposed lot lines.

Pending city council approval, the property division and sale plan would allow the five-story building on the south side of the site at 1960 Lucent Lane, a 500,000-square-foot office center built in 2000, to be "repositioned as really a jewel of Naperville, especially as the entrance to the corporate corridor," said Tom Gorman, senior vice president of Colliers International, who is representing Nokia in the sale.

"We think this building would transition very nicely to a multitenant use," Gorman said.

Behind it to the north, Nokia would continue to use its office at 2000 Lucent Lane on property the company and its predecessors, Alcatel Lucent and Bell Labs, have occupied since 1965.

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And behind that on the far north end of the parcel is the tract of land Nokia has been attempting to sell since at least 2011. That's when the DuPage County Forest Preserve District expressed interest in buying the land near Danada Forest Preserve and the district's headquarters, then dropped the plan because the price was too high.

In 2014, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra considered buying the land as a site for summer concerts, but those talks also fell through.

The latest potential purchaser was K. Hovnanian Homes in 2018, when city council members indicated they might consider residential zoning for the land, instead of its current designation for office, research or light industrial use.

The next step now is for the city council to consider Nokia's request to subdivide. Gorman and city staff members said any future buyer of the northernmost part of the land would need to get its plans for housing or other development approved separately.

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