Wheaton residents can prepare to see some changes at the old Hubble Middle School property.
Following the Wheaton Park District's special meetings Sept. 5 and 9 to finalize its contract with Bergen Construction and agreement with Bradford Equities, all sales surrounding the property closed Monday.
Bradford Equities purchased the property from Community Unit School District 200 for $5 million, and in turn, the Wheaton Park District purchased part of the old Hubble Middle School building — the section containing three gymnasiums — from Bradford for $3.25 million.
The park district will be reimbursed for 75 percent of its purchase with a federal grant.
The agreements between Bradford Equities and both District 200 and the Wheaton Park District were decided last summer. Now that Bradford and the park district have gotten all the appropriate permits to begin construction, they were able to officially close on their purchases.
“At any point, this could have derailed, but we got it done, and construction will be under way,” said Mike Benard, park district executive director.
The first stages of demolition by Bradford Equities, consisting of asbestos removal from the school building, began Tuesday. The Wheaton Park District will begin its work Sept. 17.
Bradford Equities purchased the old Hubble property from the school district, planning to build a Mariano’s Fresh Market on the southeast corner of the property at Naperville and Roosevelt roads. The market is expected to open October 2013, said Chad Jones, Bradford Equities CFO.
In addition to purchasing part of the school building from Bradford, the park district is gaining other land.
Bradford Equities is donating part of the property for the park district to use as athletic fields. This land currently houses softball, teeball, football and soccer fields, as well as a quarter-mile track. While most of this will be lost in the construction, the park district plans to rebuild some elements after Bradford’s construction is complete, Benard said.
The park district also is trading part of its Central Park property, located west of Hubble, for more open space from Bradford. The part of Central Park being traded now holds an old administration building, two tennis courts, a playground and volleyball courts, Benard said. Three acres of green space and two tennis courts will remain.
Benard said the trade made sense for both parties. The park district will lose property that was either going unused or in need of maintenance and gain open land for more park space.
Construction on the Hubble property began this week with removal of asbestos. It will continue with demolishing parts of the school building gradually over the next 30 to 45 days, Jones said. Next, initial work will begin at the future site of Mariano’s Market and Bradford’s portion of Central Park to prepare those lands for building.
Bradford will demolish the old administrative building at Central Park, too.
The park district’s $2.2 million contract with Bergen Construction, approved Sept. 5, consists of construction on 50,000 square feet of the school building.
The park district had already been using the three gyms in the school prior to this deal, Benard said. The park district had an agreement with the school district to rent the gyms.
When construction on the school building is complete, it will be a stand-alone athletic center, he said.
If construction finishes by January 2013, the park district will pay Bergen an additional $30,000.
“Our wish is to have the project done in time for our athletic winter events,” Benard said.
Now that the purchases have officially closed, Community Unit School District 200 has fulfilled its promise to sell the property.
District 200 will place the proceeds from the sale in an escrow account and use them to pay down high-interest bonds later this fall, a district release stated.