Buyer with vision sought for former Lake Villa District Library

  • Real estate broker Robert E. Frank explains the attributes of the former Lake Villa District Library.

    Real estate broker Robert E. Frank explains the attributes of the former Lake Villa District Library. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

  • Bids are being sought for the former Lake Villa District Library at Grand Avenue and Deep Lake Road.

    Bids are being sought for the former Lake Villa District Library at Grand Avenue and Deep Lake Road. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

  • Real estate broker Robert E. Frank walks among the shelves while showing a visitor the former Lake Villa District Library.

    Real estate broker Robert E. Frank walks among the shelves while showing a visitor the former Lake Villa District Library. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

  • Robert E. Frank, left, and Mikael Jacobsen, director of the Lake Villa District Library view the grounds from the roof of the former library building. Bids are being sought for the building and five acres of property.

    Robert E. Frank, left, and Mikael Jacobsen, director of the Lake Villa District Library view the grounds from the roof of the former library building. Bids are being sought for the building and five acres of property. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

  • Robert E. Frank, left, and Mikael Jacobsen, director of the Lake Villa District Library, outside the former library building. Library officials are soliciting bids for the property which is listed for $1.99 million.

    Robert E. Frank, left, and Mikael Jacobsen, director of the Lake Villa District Library, outside the former library building. Library officials are soliciting bids for the property which is listed for $1.99 million. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/21/2021 6:25 PM

Representatives of the old Lake Villa District Library at Grand Avenue and Deep Lake Road are seeking bids on the unique building and property they vacated nearly two years ago.

The 40-year-old library building, which was expanded over the years, was listed in late 2019 for $2.99 million. But the market imploded due to COVID-19. Library officials now are accepting sealed bids until noon June 2.

 

The asking price has been slashed to just under $2 million. But there is wiggle room for reasonable offers for what admittedly is not a typical offering.

"We hope we get some good bidders -- people who see the opportunities," library Director Mikael Jacobsen said.

Robert E. Frank, whose real estate company has had the listing, says it will take creativity, but the building has many attributes and is waiting to be repurposed.

"We need somebody with vision," he said. "You've got to multipurpose the building."

A chief selling point is a large entry with public restrooms, meeting space and reception areas. That opens to a two-story vaulted atrium immersed in natural light. Large windows offer views of wetlands to the south.

The 34,162-square-foot building is a single floor comprised of a main area still occupied by empty desks and bookshelves, and a labyrinth of former library departments, offices and other rooms.

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Frank said the former library generated a lot of initial interest and some offers. But the pandemic "took the wind out of our sails" and sale activity was put on hold.

Restaurants and a brew pub or distillery were possibilities, Frank said, but that market evaporated.

"The restaurants were pummeled by the pandemic," he said.

A food court, medical office, community center, youth center, art gallery or dance club are also possibilities, according to the listing.

However, the biggest market now is nonprofit organizations and churches.

"We get a lot of hits, but it doesn't generate a lot of showing activity," Frank said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

And there have been no acceptable offers, he said.

"You can't reproduce the building, 5 acres and parking lot for anywhere near the $1,995,000 asking price," Frank said.

"We're looking for a clean offer with a quick closing," he said.

The property is being sold as is. Bidders can bid whatever they think is appropriate, Jacobsen said. Visit www.lvdl.org/about/board.

The library board will review the bids and decide whether to accept any of them at its June 14 meeting. All can legally be rejected if they are deemed to be too low or otherwise unacceptable.

It's a good value for the right buyer, Frank said. "You need a use. You need a purpose."

A new $18 million library nearby on Munn Road in Lindenhurst opened in July 2019. Lake Villa District Library serves about 40,000 residents in Lake Villa and Lindenhurst and parts of Round Lake Heights, Round Lake Beach and Antioch.

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