Back in 1999, Brookfield property owner Steven Campbell bought the Brookfield Moose property at 4000-4020 DuBois Blvd. for $260,000. Six years later, he’s in line to make a hefty profit on his investment courtesy of the Village of Brookfield.
Back in December 2004, the village board voted to approve 11 zoning variations in order to build a six-story, 48-unit condominium building on the property. But since December, Campbell said, he realized that taking on such a large-scale development was beyond his expertise. As a result, he’s selling the property. The asking price for the 33,000 square foot parcel of land is $1.55 million.
“As I started getting into it, I found out how many people I’d need, and the additional expenses ran into $1 million plus,” Campbell said. “I can do nothing but borrow the money and be on the hook.”
Campbell said that “a qualified group has expressed a strong interest” in the property, but wouldn’t disclose any names of potential buyers.
“The people I will sell to are eminently more qualified to build this than I am,” Campbell said.
That interest may be due in large part to the zoning variations the village granted last year. By law, those variations will transfer along with the property to any new owner. Any new development on the property must conform to the variations allowed.
One of the more important variations the village board gave to the property was extending the time frame during which all of the variations were valid. According to the ordinance passed by village trustees, the variances will be effective until December 2006.
By putting the property on the market, Campbell did raise some eyebrows. Matthew Sinde, chairman of the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals and a vocal critic of the condo plan from the start, said, “I think it’s pretty disturbing, someone using the [zoning appeals process] to benefit them. I don’t think that’s right. When he got the variations, I thought he was the one who was going to build on it.”
“It’s not about me building the building,” he said. “It’s about getting redevelopment going in that end of town. My ultimate goal has always been to make sure there was a substantive, quality building to provide an anchor for the west end of Ogden Avenue.”
The village’s new 2020 Master Plan addressed the Brookfield Moose property, envisioning a consolidated parcel of land bounded by the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railroad tracks and Ogden Avenue on the north and south and by DuBois Boulevard and Eberly Avenue on the east and west.
The Master Plan shows the site as suitable for a large commercial development or as a mixed-use commercial/high-density residential area. Campbell scoffed at that vision during the variation approval process, characterizing it as a pipe dream.
“I have a 25-year history in this village, and for years we’ve been talking about a need for something at the Moose,” Campbell said. “I do not believe that putting commercial on the site of the Moose would ever, ever be a viable choice.”
Brookfield Village President Michael Garvey, who was one of two trustees to vote against granting the zoning variations last December questioned whether Campbell didn’t have this plan of action in mind all along, but said the village board wouldn’t interfere in the sale or zoning of the property.
“He’s free to market his property,” Garvey said. “When Steve asked for the variation to extend the time period I was curious about that, but I don’t think any board steps are necessary or appropriate at this time.”