At the January 8, 2018 City Council Meeting, Albion Jacobs Highland Park, LLC (“Developer”) was introduced as the preferred developer for the Karger Recreation Center site (“Property”).
The City Council and staff conducted a comprehensive review of proposals for the sale and redevelopment of the Property. The Developer was selected based on a combination of factors including the proposed redevelopment plan and the purchase price. The Developer has agreed to purchase the Property from the City for $3.762M and proposes to redevelop the site into a multi-family residential development consisting of 171 luxury apartment units, measuring no more than 65 feet in height, with high-end finishes and common amenities. The proposed development considers the needs neighboring properties and the Central Business District. The City and Developer have negotiated a proposed Purchase and Sale Agreement (“PSA”), which will appear before the City Council for consideration at their January 22, 2018 regular meeting.
Upon approval of the PSA by the City and the Developer, the proposed Development will advance through the City’s public planned development process that will include workshops before the Plan and Design Commission as well as a public hearing. In order to allow relocation time and to honor the leases of existing tenants at the Property, the PSA restricts the Developer from demolishing the building prior to June 30, 2019 without the prior written consent of the City.
“The search for an appropriate buyer for the Karger site was exhaustive, thoughtful, and performed with diligence. We selected a developer who would consider the needs, vibrancy, and character of Downtown Highland Park and the greater community,” stated Mayor Nancy Rotering.
The City’s decision to sell the Property follows a 2014 comprehensive assessment of City owned real estate which identified the Property as rapidly aging with escalating operating costs. At the regular meeting of the City Council on May 22, 2017, an agreement was approved with Millennium Properties Real Estate, Inc., a commercial real estate company to list the 2.6 acre Property, located at 1850 Green Bay Road for $3.5M. After listing the property for sale, the City held a neighborhood meeting in August 2017 to discuss the sale of the property and to ensure neighboring property owners that they will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed redevelopment as part of the City’s public planned development process.
City Manager Ghida Neukirch stated, “Transparency is of utmost importance to our City’s operations. This proposal will undergo careful consideration and due diligence as it proceeds through the public planning, zoning, and design review process as required by the City Code. Upon approval of the Purchase and Sale Agreement, the Developer will begin this public process and information on the proposed redevelopment will be available on the City’s website.”
The Karger Center was built in 1966 and was leased by the City to the Park District of Highland Park to serve as the recreation center until 2005. The building currently serves as a multi-tenant facility housing the Highland Park Community Nursery School and Day Care Center, Rhythmix Gymnastics Program, and Unit 14 Theatre Company. All tenants were previously notified of the potential sale of the property and will be seeking relocation of their operations by June 30, 2019 after which date the Developer may begin site demolition and construction, contingent upon planning approvals and permit issuance.
For more information on the Karger Center, please go to www.cityhpil.com/karger or call the City Manager’s Office at 847.926.1000.