A month after learning that their prospective partner was walking away from proposed residential development on the site of the former Brookfield Bowl, village officials got some good news related to the property at 3415 Maple Ave.
In early June, an environmental inspection company reported that the former bowling alley property would not need further site remediation after soil tests came back negative.
“There can never be 100 percent certainty, but it gives us a lot more certainty than we had,” said Nicholas Greifer, director of community and economic development for the village of Brookfield. “One thing developers hate is uncertainty.”
The village acquired the bowling alley in 2014 and the adjacent parking lot to the north in 2016 through Cook County’s no-cash bid program that allows municipalities to acquire tax-delinquent properties.
In March, the village demolished the bowling alley after performing asbestos abatement. In the process of demolition, they discovered a partial basement in the northeast corner of the bowling alley site, but there were no underground or above-ground storage tanks located.
The village, however, wanted to perform further soil testing, because the bowling alley property sits next to a gas station that has been there since before the 1950s. It was possible, officials believed, that underground storage tanks could have leaked contaminants into the ground along the bowling alley’s south property line.
Brookfield hired Chicago-based Environmental Group Service Ltd., which on May 24 performed five soil borings to a depth of 20 feet – four to check for contaminants in the soil and one to test for contaminants in the groundwater.
“According to the soil analytical results, no chemicals of concern were detected” above levels acceptable to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the testing firm’s June 5 report stated.
The tests did detect elevated lead levels in the groundwater sample, but the report stated that it didn’t “pose a significant threat to human health or the environment,” since the village doesn’t allow the installation of wells to obtain drinking water.
Greifer said in the wake of the loss of the village’s development partner, he has reached out to other real estate development firms and has received interest, though it’s been informal.
“We’ve had more interest in the last four weeks than in the last 12 months,” Greifer said. “There continues to be a lot of interest in multifamily [residential] development. That’s just where the market is going, and that’s what we’re seeing here.”
With the bowling alley demolished and the site cleared of being contaminated, the property will be more attractive, Greifer said.
“It’s easier to market a site when it’s a clear, development-ready site,” he added.