An office and industrial building vacant for nearly 10 years in Park Forest is under new ownership and back on the tax rolls.
The property located at 80 North Street in Park Forest’s industrial park had been owned by the village since 2010 after being acquired via judicial deed. Park Forest board members voted unanimously Monday to approve a real estate purchase agreement for the sale of the building to Jason Wan and Yang Chen for $500,000.
The deal was finalized Wednesday.
Following receipt of an occupancy permit for Phase 1 of redevelopment of the property, Park Forest will rebate $250,000 of the purchase price.
Wan and Chen, who were present at Park Forest's board meeting on Oct. 9, were lauded by board members for their determination to finalize a deal after two years of talks.
The new owners plan to invest a total of 8.5 million dollars in the property over the next three years and an additional $5.5 million dollars in years four through 10.
When renovated, the building will employ 30 to 40 workers and will serve as headquarters for ForeBio Nutrition Inc., a nutritional supplement manufacturing company. ForeBio Nutrition Inc. aims to source U.S. locally produced, high-quality nutritional ingredients to formulate and manufacture nutritional supplements for youth which the company intends to sell internationally.
Plans for the property also call for the rehabilitation of the building’s office space to be leased to other business.
Park Forest officials say it was through a collaborative effort which included Park Forest staff members, Park Forest Mayor John Ostenburg, Illinois State Representative Anthony DeLuca, State Senator Toi Hutchinson, and local school districts that made a complex sale possible.
“It’s a difficult situation for someone to come into a piece of property that’s been abandoned for a long period of time and have every intention of bringing it up to a workable level, with costs that are involved that are 8.5 million dollars or more and yet have to bear an extreme burden in terms of the property taxes,” said Park Forest Mayor John Ostenburg. “So I think the consensus was that the relief on the property tax side would more than justify having that kind of an investment so that this property would once again be a viable property in our community.”
Prior to Park Forest’s acquisition of the property in 2010, property taxes had not consistently been paid on the vacant building since 2006.
Since becoming owners of 80 North Street, Park Forest nearly sold the building on two different occasions to different investor groups – one led by former Chicago Bear Richard Dent – however both deals were unsuccessful due to the inability of buyers to secure affordable financing.
Representatives for ForeBio Nutrition Inc. first approached Park Forest officials about the possibility of purchasing the property in 2015 after identifying it through a search on the website LoopNet. Since then, the two sides have remained in communication to obtain estimates to stabilize and renovate the property and to facilitate a reliable and predicable reduction in the real estate property taxes.
“I’m very thankful that Mr. Wan stuck it through,” said Park Forest Assistant Director of Economic Development Sandra Zoellner who led Park Forest’s efforts in the sale.
“When those 30 to 40 new employees start working in Park Forest in the research and development and when the small box trucks start going up and down North Street and down Western, that will be something to celebrate.”