The Brookfield village board got into the Christmas spirit Monday night, going on a one-and-a-half-hour shopping expedition resulting in almost $1 million being spent on a new computer software system, a new street sweeper and about 33,000 square feet of commercial real estate near Ogden Avenue.
While the computer software purchase, totaling about $465,000, has been long-expected, the street sweeper and real estate were new items on the shopping list. According to Village Manager Riccardo Ginex, the village’s 1995 Elgin street sweeper was scheduled to be replaced in 2012. But the machine failed again about a month ago, forcing staff to re-evaluate that plan.
When staff learned that Chicago-based Standard Equipment Company was looking to unload a 2011 Elgin street sweeper that had only been used as a demonstrator model, they negotiated a deal to buy the $172,000 machine for $149,000. In addition, the village will trade in its broken-down sweeper for $11,700.
Both the street sweeper and computer software, a purchase totaling roughly $615,000, will be financed via a five-year loan through the First National Bank of Brookfield at an interest rate of 3.5 percent.
“Our goal is to trade the [new] sweeper in after five years of usage,” said Assistant Village Manager Keith Sbiral.
But the most interesting decision Monday night was the board’s purchase of the property at 4000 DuBois Blvd., formerly home to the Brookfield Moose and the subject of two failed residential housing proposals in recent years.
Trustees voted unanimously to buy the land from its owner, Fifth-Third Bank, for $285,000. The cash deal was made possible Monday night by another move the village board made at its final meeting of 2011.
Prior to the land purchase, trustees voted to create the Congress Park Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District, which includes the former Moose property and the public streets that border it.
The village board held a public hearing on Nov. 28 to gain input on the creation of the new TIF.
Because this TIF district is immediately adjacent to the Ogden Avenue TIF, trustees voted to transfer up to $300,000 from the Ogden Avenue TIF to the Congress Park TIF to finance the sale of the property.
“We knew we could make an attractive offer with a cash deal,” said Village President Michael Garvey, who added that the bank’s real estate broker indicated there was another bidder for the property. “The TIF put us in a position to make a cash bid.”
As part of the deal, Fifth-Third Bank will also provide the village with a No Further Remediation letter from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, which will be key in attracting development, Garvey said.
Sbiral said village staff began its negotiations on the property in October, and the property had been on the village’s radar since the summer when the old Moose hall was torn down by Fifth-Third Bank.
The bank acquired the property through foreclosure in March 2010. Its previous owner, Triumph Real Estate, had proposed first a condo building and later a townhome development for the site.
Triumph bought the property from Steven Campbell in 2005 for $1.35 million. Campbell had first proposed the condo building for the site, getting 11 zoning variances to do so. However, he sold the property instead. Campbell had purchased the property in 1999 for $260,000.
The purchase of the Moose property gives the village of Brookfield control of two significant parcels within the special zoning district bounded by Ogden Avenue on the south, the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad tracks on the north, DuBois Boulevard on the east and Eberly Avenue on the west.
Brookfield also owns the former Lucas Tire property at the corner of Ogden and Eberly. Both parcels are within TIF districts.
“At this point we own two key, strategic properties there,” said Sbiral. “The village will certainly play a role in how it develops at this point. Hopefully as the economy turns around we’ll be a player in how that happens.”