3507 Arden Ave.Photo courtesy Weichert Realtors-Nickel GroupSee the original listing on Realtor.com

The Brookfield Public Library has sold the home on Arden Avenue that it purchased in 2007 as part of an ultimately unsuccessful plan to build a new library in the Hollywood section of Brookfield.

On Aug. 14 the library closed on a deal to sell the home for $295,000, which is $105,000 less than the $400,000 the library paid for the house in 2007. In June, the library put the home on the market with an asking price of $329,900.

“Considering the current housing market we got a good price,” said Brookfield Library board president Jennifer Perry who was not on the board when the library bought the house. “The library board purchased the house on Arden at the top of the market. It was the proper time to sell it, and it allows us to focus on developing the former church property into a new library.”

Last year, the library purchased the Brookfield United Methodist Church building across from the library for $585,185. This summer it demolished the church building and hopes to eventually build a new library on the now vacant plot.

“We’ve said we’re on a 3-5 year plan and that’s what we’re still on,” Perry said.

The library purchased the home on Arden as part of plan to buy five homes, tear them down and build a new library at the corner of Arden and Washington. The house had been appraised at $400,000 at the tail end of a red hot real estate market, but even at the time some felt the library overpaid. They obtained options to buy on three of the other four houses the library wanted to acquire, but the plan fell apart when the owner of the fifth house refused to sell.

By that time, the housing market had collapsed and when the library tried to sell the house, discovered it would have to take a substantial loss.

Board members said they made the best decisions they could at the time when they decided to buy the house and they felt stuck when housing prices collapsed.

“It was at the height of the market,” said library board member Dianne Duner, one of three current members who were on the board when the library bought the home. “It was a board decision and it was followed through on. I have no more to say than that.”

Library board members did not want to take a big loss on the house knowing that they would be criticized. So they finally decided to rent out the house for $1,800 a month. The library has had three tenants in the house, one of whom had to be evicted for non-payment of rent. The press release put out by the library announcing the sale stated that the library collected $89,042.52 in rent since the house was purchased. The press release did not detail the property taxes the library has paid on the home.

This summer, with their third and final tenant moving out and the housing market finally picking up, trustees decided to put the house on the market again.

The library did not have a mortgage on the home, having previously paid off the loan it took out to buy the home. The proceeds from the sale of the home will be deposited in the library’s special reserve account, which is used for capital spending as well as for emergencies.

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