By Bob Uphues
The village of Brookfield has put a deadline on taking down the long-vacant Brookfield Bowl, 3415 Maple Ave., now that it has hired a firm to demolish the building.
On Jan. 28, trustees voted unanimously to award a contract to demolish the building and remove asbestos from the site to Markham-based KLF Enterprises and set March 29 as the date by which the project must be substantially completed.
Once work starts, it should take about a week to take the building down, said Nicholas Greifer, the village's director of community and economic development.
"We look forward to seeing a hazardous building be removed," Greifer said.
KLF Enterprises submitted the lowest of eight bids received by the village, at $39,500. The winning bid was more than $20,000 lower than the second-lowest bidder, and the remaining six demolition firms submitted bids of $75,000 or more. The village's engineer had estimated the job would cost $100,000.
"We were all surprised, because it was well below the engineer's estimate of $100,000 and well below what the appraisal four years ago had it pegged at," Greifer said.
The bid was so far below previous estimates that some trustees wanted to make sure the bid didn't contain room for additional charges later.
Greifer said that all of the bidders had addressed the specifications the village had set for the project. An independent engineering firm reviewed the bids and concluded they all were responsive.
Theodore G. Sianis, a project engineer for Clark Dietz Inc., stated his firm was familiar with KLF Enterprises and recommended that the village accept their bid for the work.
The demolition project will be paid for with money taken from the Eight Corners Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Fund.
Village officials since last summer have been working with a Hinsdale-based development firm on an agreement that would convey the bowling alley property to them in order for them to build a three- to four-story multifamily residential building.
Tartan Builders, which was the sole respondent to a request for qualifications to develop the property last year, likely would still need to complete additional environmental testing of the site, which sits immediately north of a gas station.
Exactly how that environmental analysis would be funded – either by the developer, through the TIF fund or a combination – is not known at this time.
Village officials moved to tear the building down late last year after a fire damaged the interior of the bowling alley. Police say the fire was set intentionally, and greater damage was avoided only because someone happened to be walking past the bowling alley at 4 a.m. on Sept. 22, saw an orange glow through the front doors and dialed 911.
No one has been arrested for the alleged arson, but the incident marked the second time last year where people had broken into the building.
The former bowling alley has been vacant since 2011, when the village ordered it shut down after the building's owner failed to make repairs to trusses holding up the roof.
The village of Brookfield acquired the bowling alley property in 2014 through Cook County's no-cash bid program for tax-delinquent properties.