Live Coverage: Wheaton Hearing on Hubble Development

City Council will review staff recommendations for conditions of approval for the redevelopment of the old Hubble school site at a continued public hearing Monday, Feb. 27.

Wheaton city officials will meet for a second public hearing tonight to review staff recommendations for the planned unit development (PUD) of the old Hubble school site, where developer Bradford Equities, LLC plans to build a Mariano's Fresh Market.

Of 17 conditions staff recommended as changes to the PUD before the first, Feb. 13 hearing, three remain as discussion, or "policy questions" for City Council. They include: construction of public sidewalks, road improvements and decorative street lighting, according to a city memo.

According to the Feb. 22 memo, council will address the following issues:

1. The applicant (Bradford) shall construct a public sidewalk along the north side of the grocery store private roadway between Naperville Road and Main Street, and repair any identified sidewalk defects.

Assuming the siewalk is concrete and provides access from Main Street to the grocery store and gyms, staff is supportive of Bradford's and the park district's plan to incorporate traffic control and sidewalks along certain parts of the road. City staff estimates the cost for public sidewalk repairs surrounding the entire site to be about $50,000.

2. Bradford shall construct improvements to provide a second left-turn lane for north bound Naperville Road at Roosevelt Road and a right-turn lane for west bound Roosevelt Road at Naperville Road, including necessary signal changes. 

The developer plans to meet with IDOT officials and will discuss the proposed improvements. Staff recommends the developer, at a minimum, widen west bound lanes on Roosevelt Road.

3. Bradford shall add city decorative street lighting along Naperville Road from Roosevelt Road to Indiana Street and lighting along the private roadway.

Staff estimates the cost for lighting to be about $100,000.

Staff also has concerns about the parking spaces provided for Mariano's and the park district's uses, according to the memo.

The public hearing is 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27 at City Hall.

Confused? Here's what's happening:

Bradford Equities, LLC is buying the old Hubble school site from Community Unit School District 200 and plans to redevelop the site to bring a Mariano's Fresh Market to the corner of Roosevelt and Naperville Roads. of $5,000,200 in June.

The Wheaton Park District is also in on the deal, with plans to buy part of the school building from Bradford (for $3 million), to hang on to the three gyms it uses for athletics year-round. Bradford will also donate a parcel of open space for athletic fields to the park district. The two will also swap Bradford's open space at the corner of Main Street and Roosevelt Road for the park district's Central Park property.

Bradford and the park district presented plans for the site to City Council Feb. 13, seeking approval of a planned unit development (PUD) to allow Bradford to move forward with the deal. However the hearing was continued to Feb. 27 to address city staff's .

More background:

The old Hubble school closed in 2009, when District 200 moved students to the new Hubble Middle School building in Warrenville (take a look at the complete Hubble timeline, courtesy of the District 200 website). The park district became the main user of the site, accommodating more than 90,000 user hours per year. From 2007-2010, the city formed the Hubble Steering Committee, which considered possible uses for the site. In February 2011, District 200 put the school on the market for $10 million to sell in a sealed bid process.

When the district received no bids by the bid opening date April 14, the price was reduced to $5 million. The Wheaton Park District made an offer of $2 million on the property in May, with a letter of intent with Bradford to bring Mariano's to the site. But the offer that worked was Bradford's, which had the same letter of intent, just a different buyer and higher price.

Who's who? Here are some of the main players:

Bradford Equities is the developer and buyer of the site. CFO Chad Jones has been a spokesman for the project since June. Steve Pagnotta is the president and founder of Bradford and William Shank is the architect.

The Wheaton Park District is Bradford's partner in the deal. Mike Benard is the executive director of the park district. Commissioner Phil Luetkehans has led a subcommittee to iron out details of the deal. Ray Morrill is the president of commissioners. Other commissioners: Steve Fieweger, John Kelly, Terry Mee, Mark Schobel and Kim VanderSchaaf.

Roundy's is the parent company of Mariano's. Dan Farrell, vice president of real estate for Mariano's, presented council with background on the company and some details pertaining to the store operations.

Community Unit School District 200 is the seller of the property. Brian Harris is the District 200 superintendent. Bill Farley is the assistant superintendent of business operations. Rosemary Swanson is the president of the District 200 Board of Education.

V3 Infrastructures is the engineering firm working on the project. Derrick Martin spoke to residents in January about plans for the site. John Brown addressed engineering issues.

Kenig, Lindgren, O'Hara and Aboona, Inc. (KLOA) is the firm that performed a Traffic Impact Study for the site. Luay Aboona will address traffic issues.

Drew Ranieri, of Solomon Cordwell Buenz, addressed design elements of the building.

City of Wheaton officials involved in the deal include City Manager Don Rose, Jim Kozik, director of economic development and Paul Redman, director of engineering. City Council includes Wheaton Mayor Mike Gresk and council members Jeanne Ives, Tom Mouhelis, Evelyn Pacino-Sanguinetti, John Rutledge, Todd Scalzo and Phil Suess.

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