District 200 received no official bids for the old Hubble School property at its open auction Monday and will now entertain any “reasonable” offers to come its way. District 200 Attorney Aris Dalianis explained that school code now allows the board to entertain reasonable offers for a minimum of $5 million, but not necessarily compliant with the original terms and conditions of the sale.
One potential bidder, Muhammad Shamsi, signed up at the open auction Monday, but then said his counterpart who had the earnest money check for $300,000 was unable to attend because of an emergency.
Shamsi attended the auction on behalf of the Lombard-based College Preparatory School of America (CPSA). He said the school intends to turn the property into a school for grades six through 12, or approximately 600 students.
The District 200 school board passed a resolution in February to sell Hubble in a sealed bid process for a minimum of $10 million. When it received no bids by the bid opening date, Apr. 14, the board passed a new resolution setting the minimum price to $5 million, and a public auction date on Monday, May 16.
According to the previous terms and conditions of the sale, the successful bidder would have been required to pay the balance of the sale price at the property’s closing date, which would be within 45 days after the buyer secures all necessary permits from DuPage County, the city of Wheaton and any other necessary governmental entities. The buyer would have had 180 days to secure these permits and approvals, and can request an extension at any time. The district will be be able to authorize a 120-day extension if the buyer “has demonstrated that it is making good faith, substantial progress toward obtaining such approvals and permits."
The terms and conditions allowed District 200 to, “consider the bid price, future property tax revenues and ‘new property’ equalized assessed valuation likely to be generated by the development of the real estate, and any other factors within its sole discretion in evaluating, and accepting or rejecting, the highest bid.”
Terms also required the buyer to “make a good faith effort” to work with the Wheaton Park District to incorporate public space uses and “to preserve or enhance existing athletic fields to the extent such uses are practical within the overall propose development scheme of the real estate.” The buyer is also prohibited from applying for or accepting tax increment financing funds.
Had Shamsi's counterpart been at the auction, the bid would have been submitted, complying with all of the district's terms and conditions. He said the school would work with the Wheaton Park District and the city of Wheaton.
He said that now, he will submit the bid "after tomorrow ... it will be a very nice offer." He added that the property will benefit "everyone."
Dalianis said the board will negotiate offers for Hubble in closed sessions, but would accept or reject them in open meetings.