When the village of Brookfield issued a Request for Qualifications from builders interested in redeveloping the vacant Brookfield Bowl property at 3415 Maple Ave. back in May, Community and Economic Development Director Nicholas Greifer said he didn’t think there would be many responses because it was a “tricky site to develop.”
He was right.
At the June 22 deadline, the village received exactly one response — from the development company, Tartan Builders. The village has been working with them on the site since early 2018.
“There have been a lot of cursory reviews of the site, but Tartan was the first and only one to put some skin in the game and show serious interest,” said Greifer, who added that he’s given tours of the shuttered bowling alley on a monthly basis to investors, developers and restaurateurs.
Brookfield acquired the bowling alley and parking lot to the north of it in 2014 and 2016, respectively, using Cook County’s no-cash bid process for property tax delinquent structures.
The bowling alley is an important location within the Eight Corners TIF District, which was created to help maintain the viability of the existing commercial district and attract new commercial and residential development there.
“First and foremost, we’ve had difficulty with that site in the past six years,” Greifer said. “There’s a reason some properties stay dark for some time.”
Back in March, the Brookfield Village Board entered into a preliminary redevelopment agreement with Tartan Builders with regard to the Brookfield Bowl and the parking lot to the north.
At the time, Tartan Builders rolled out two possible concepts for the site. One was a three- to five-story mixed-use development with commercial space on the ground floor and residences above. The other was an active senior living facility.
The company’s response to the RFQ is a bit more general, but the favored concept appears to be a residential-only structure.
“They’re proposing a residential project of 16 to 20 units on the bowling alley site,” Greifer said.
The three- to four-story building would contain a mix of units ranging from studio apartments to two-bedroom units. It’s not clear who the intended demographic would be, but the proposed building includes an elevator, said Greifer. A basic site plan included in Tartan’s response identifies the project as “rental apartments or 55+ living.”
“That depends on the marketing of it and how they do outreach to specific demographic groups,” Greifer said.
Parking is slated for the existing parking lot area, he said.
While the village obtained just one response to its Request for Qualifications, Greifer said he was glad the village opened the redevelopment process to others and that he’s looking forward to hammering out a redevelopment agreement with Tartan Builders.
A schedule included in the village’s bowling alley RFQ suggested a redevelopment agreement could be inked by the beginning of August. That remains to be seen, however.
The Brookfield Village Board likely will discuss next steps at its committee of the whole meeting on July 9.
Congress Park deal in limbo
Meanwhile, negotiations with another company on a redevelopment agreement for village-owned land near the Congress Park train station appears to be in limbo.
Greifer called the prospect of Troutman and Dams and the village sealing a deal to develop the former Brookfield Moose land at 4000 DuBois Blvd. an “open question.”
“There’s no news on Congress Park,” said Greifer. “We’ll circle back to that after we focus on the bowling alley. With the new comprehensive plan in place, we’ll see if any new ideas emanate from that.”
Last fall the village conducted a similar RFQ for the former Brookfield Moose site and selected the commercial real estate development firm Troutman and Dams as the company with which it would seek to ink a redevelopment agreement.
Troutman and Dams had proposed a pair of five-story, 24-unit residential buildings for the site. But now it appears a deal isn’t happening.
“It’s an open question who would be the developer at that site,” Greifer said.