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Chicago Daily Herald
A decade after the initial offering, portions of the Libertyville Sports Complex at Route 45 and Peterson Road could be for sale again soon.
Village officials have designated the areas occupied by a driving range and mini-golf course as surplus property - as required to sell public land - and intend to sell all or portions to reduce the annual $800,000 debt not covered by revenues from the operation.
But action on an agreement to list the property with a real estate firm was tabled Tuesday because a proposal for a part of the site was received just hours before the scheduled vote. If the listing pact were approved, the village would be liable for a 2 percent commission even though no work had been done on its behalf, Mayor Terry Weppler said.
"We don't know if this is a legitimate offer or not," he said of the late-arriving proposal.
The village staff is reviewing the validity of a suggestion to use some of the golf tee boxes. Village Administrator Chris Clark described it as a test for a "high-end driving range concept" that would be privately run but complementary to the existing setup.
"We have to see if that makes sense for Libertyville or not," he said.
In any case, officials have decided to divest rather than invest in portions of the sports complex, a holding that was supposed to pay for itself but never has. The listing agreement sets the initial asking price at $12.5 million.
"A key goal is land sale proceeds to pay off debt," Clark said. "We think, at least to some extent, the economy has shown some signs of improvement."
The village listed the properties in 2007 and accepted an offer for the family entertainment portion, but the plan fizzled. Subsequent offers were far below the perceived value and the properties eventually were taken off the market, but the debt issue remains.
The village borrowed $25 million in two bond issues to buy the land and build the sports complex, which opened in June 2002. About $16 million of that debt remains. Principal and interest amount to $1.45 million each year, but revenue from the operation is about $800,000 short, and funds are transferred to cover the gap. Those bond issues were refinanced a few years ago and don't expire until 2027 and 2032.
"The contingency plan was if it doesn't work, we can always sell the land," said Trustee Rich Moras, who chairs the board's finance committee.
The sports complex is compose of the Golf Learning Center (driving range and facilities), the Family Entertainment Center (leased by Aloha Falls LLC for mini-golf and a game center) and the Indoor Sports Center, which includes athletic courts and fields, a fitness center and other amenities.
The indoor center carries its financial weight, village officials stress, and has never been for sale.
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