By Bob Uphues
The village of Brookfield will formally seek qualifications from companies and concepts for redeveloping the site of the long-vacant Brookfield Bowl, 3415 Maple Ave., with responses from firms due in either late June or early July.
Village trustees gave the staff the go-ahead to issue a request of qualifications at their meeting on May 14, after Community and Economic development Director Nicholas Greifer said an RFQ was the best way to "open up [the redevelopment process] as much as possible."
The village's action comes as its preliminary redevelopment agreement on the property with Hinsdale-based Tartan Builders expires this week. Brookfield entered into the agreement in March to give Tartan Builders a chance to do their due diligence with respect to redevelopment options for the site, which is part of the Eight Corners Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District.
Greifer said he expects Tartan Builders to respond to the RFQ with a proposal that calls for redeveloping the property into an apartment complex for older, active adults. That was one of two concepts Tartan Builders' owners told village officials they would be exploring back in February.
The preliminary redevelopment agreement gave Tartan Builders a leg up on other firms which may be interested in redeveloping the property. Firms will have about four weeks from the time the RFQ is issued to work up rough concepts and respond to the village.
"I don't think we'll get a huge number of responses, because it's been a tricky site to redevelop," Greifer.
Staff will evaluate the responses to the RFQ and then recommend to the village board a firm to begin negotiating a formal redevelopment agreement.
That's the same process the village used last year to settle on a preferred developer for village-owned land near the Congress Park train station. The village has been trying to negotiate a redevelopment agreement for that property since last fall.
Earlier this year, village staff said an agreement was imminent, but so far nothing final has been presented to the village board for approval.
Greifer said he expected Tartan Builders to meet soon with Village President Kit Ketchmark to relay what they've learned about redeveloping the Brookfield Bowl site.
"Now we're looking to them to take the next step and show us what they got," Greifer said. "I fully expect them to do that."
Even after Brookfield has identified a preferred developer and begins to negotiate a formal agreement, the village will have to put out a call for other proposals, a requirement of the TIF Act. However, it's unlikely the village will receive a viable proposal so late in the process.
"It's something we need to check off from a compliance standpoint," Greifer said. "We're doing an RFQ to get, early on, competing proposals. It's a more meaningful, helpful process."