The village of Brookfield is now the proud owner of a bowling alley.
Late last week, Cook County mailed the tax deed for Brookfield Bowl, 3415 Maple Ave., to the village, ending a 16-month process to obtain the condemned property and begin efforts to redevelop it.
It’ll now be up to the village board to decide how to approach redevelopment. Village President Kit Ketchmark said that trustees could begin discussing options later this month.
“This next [village board] meeting [on Nov. 24] will probably begin the process of how we want to go about it,” Ketchmark said. “The board has to decide what they see for that property.”
Village Manager Keith Sbiral said he’s been approached by several potential developers, who have pitched everything from maintaining its use as a bowling alley to tearing off the roof and making it into a restaurant/sports bar to tearing it down and constructing multi-family housing.
“There’s no lack of ideas on what to do with the property,” Sbiral said.
Sbiral said one of the first things the village will do is get an appraisal for the property. One drawback right now is that the village owns the bowling alley building only. It does not own the adjacent parking lot.
Brookfield acquired the property through Cook County’s No-Cash Bid Program, an economic development tool the county created to get tax-delinquent properties into the hands of communities which then work to get the properties redeveloped and back on the tax rolls.
The village acquired the property at the corner of Ogden and Eberly avenues in the same way. That property, which has sat vacant for at least a decade, will soon be home to a Sherwin Williams paint store.
According to Sbiral, the parking lot adjacent to the bowling alley is controlled by First National Bank of Brookfield. The property has also made the new list of properties eligible for the no-cash bid program. However, the county program is slow-moving and Sbiral said impediments, such as unpaid special assessment fees for an alley constructed several years ago, could complicate that process.
Unpaid special assessment fees were also an issue for the bowling alley property. The village chose to write off those fees in acquiring the property, said Sbiral.
Sbiral said that First National Bank has shown interest in working with the village in the event someone wants to purchase both the bowling alley and the parking lot, but there are no specific proposals on the table at this time.
The bowling alley went into foreclosure in 2008 and failed a roof inspection in 2010, forcing the owner to close down bowling operations and install temporary bracing to support the roof.
Brookfield shut down the business for good in February 2011 after the bowling alley’s former owner failed to make repairs to the failed roof trusses.
In October 2011, the village won a demolition order against the property, but declined to move forward because of the cost. In June 2013, the village began the no-cash bid process to acquire the property.
Now that the property is in the village’s hands, Sbiral said redevelopment of the property is at least possible after sitting in limbo for nearly five years.
“Once we go through the appraisal process, I’d expect something positive in the next year or so,” Sbiral.