History of Area N
The parcel of land known today as Area N was purchased by the South Barrington Park District (SBPD) at the direction of village officials in 2004. Area N was a part of a legal settlement following the collapse of a deal with a previous developer, Toll Brothers. The Area N land was purchased for $3 million, which was not a competitive market value price at the time.
The land has remained undeveloped for more than 19 years. Throughout this period, the Village and the SBPD explored several opportunities to sell the property, all of which failed. Multiple developers made bids on the property but ultimately walked away. These include offers of $1 million in 2020 and $1.6 million in 2021.
The latter was an offer from McNaughton Development, which planned to build a high-density housing complex that would have dramatically increased traffic and disruptions in the area and posed a high risk of environmental impact. Despite the potential negative neighborhood impact and the bid price below what SBPD had invested, the citizens did not object. That deal eventually fell through.
Public Referendum and Auction
SBPD is required by law to go to referendum to ask for a public vote of approval to auction the property. Voters rejected the proposal in 2018 and 2019, but approved it in 2020, paving the way for the two previous offers, which could not be finalized within the required one-year window. Here is the link to the auction in 2020 with an opening bid of $500,000 https://www.ricklevin.com/press/21.
During the most recent auction, Fourth Avenue’s successful bid of $1.7 million represents a windfall for the park district, thus allowing the park district to invest back into existing properties in the local community.
The development of a school and a church facility on the property will cause considerably less traffic congestion and neighborhood disruption compared to a dense development of dozens of single-family homes.
Both the image at the top of the page and this one show the current state of Area N. The land has remained undeveloped for more than 19 years.