Village Votes to Purchase Grainger Property

Village Votes to Purchase Grainger Property

Village of Northbrook Trustees voted last month to authorize the purchase of the 10.3 acre Grainger property, located at 1657 Shermer Road. By a vote of 5 – 0 Trustees approved the purchase, along with an agreement to lease the property back to the company on a short-term basis until September 30.

With sales of over $10.4 billion, Grainger is a leading industrial supply company with international operations. The company announced to the Village last summer of its intent to move its Northbrook operations to its corporate headquarters in Lake Forest. Located immediately south of the downtown train station, the property features a 186,000 square foot office space and warehouse structure as well as an accessory parking lot.

“Grainger has been an outstanding corporate citizen and obviously we’re very sad to see them leave,” noted Village President Sandy Frum. “However, their departure provides the Village with a unique opportunity to control a piece of land that is strategically positioned to our downtown.”

She commented further that Village officials have discussed downtown revitalization going back to the 1960s, and that securing the parcel allows the Village to plan for public works projects and public and private partnerships “to enhance and improve the heart of our community.”

According to the Village ordinance authorizing the purchase of the property, “The Village desires to acquire the property for the purpose of installing necessary public infrastructure and improvements thereupon and fostering the economic redevelopment of the Shermer Road corridor.”

In a letter read to the board in his absence, Village Trustee James Karagianis, Chair of the Planning/Zoning Committee, stated that the purchase “puts all the right tools in the hands of officials to move forward and make a real difference in the development of our downtown.”

At the recent State of the Village address, President Frum told attendees that the parcel was too important to the downtown to let it go. “We want all of our options to be open,” she said, and that the purchase allows for careful, considered debate on its future.

At a joint EDC/ICDC meeting, President Frum predicted that the property would probably have gone to multi-family development if a private sale were allowed. “This gives us the flexibility to see how it would impact the downtown,” she said. “This is a great defensive move by the Village,” commented Harley Korman, Korman/Lederer & Associates, at the meeting.

The sale is anticipated to close 45 days from the January 23 meeting – around the end of March – depending on the environmental inspection.

The purchase will be made with taxable bonds. According to Village officials, using taxable bonds offers the greatest flexibility as the Village goes through the process of considering possible uses for the property. Should the Village ultimately decide that the property will be used solely for a public purpose, it can then refund these bonds with tax exempt bonds.

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