Former Harvard Motorola campus sold to developers in Las Vegas

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A Las Vegas company closed the sale of Harvard’s former Motorola campus on Tuesday, after years of uncertainty and multiple unsuccessful attempts by previous bidders to buy the site.

The new owner – Pinnacle Fund Management, a subsidiary of another Nevada group called CAI Investments, LLC – is hoping to redevelop the property for future tenants, company representative Matthew Tucker said in an email Wednesday.

“We are very happy to be working with the city and the local community to find the highest and best usage,” Tucker said. “At the moment, we are exploring solar energy solutions and are planning to redevelop the space and place.[e] a tenant who will create jobs and generate tax revenue for the local economy. “

Tucker declined to say how much PFM paid for the site.

PMF officially made the deal on Tuesday with the US Marshals Service. The most recent owner, Xiao Hua “Edward” Gong, purchased the space in April 2016 at an online auction for $ 9.3 million. The Marshal’s Service was tasked with selling the property while a criminal case against Gong in Canada was pending.

Attempts to reach the Ontario Court of Justice for an update on Gong’s criminal case were unsuccessful.

“At this point, my first reaction is that things are moving in a positive direction, and we look forward to working with whoever eventually takes the job,” said Harvard Mayor Mike Kelly.

The 1.5 million square foot property that once housed a Motorola manufacturing and distribution site has been vacant for nearly two decades and has deteriorated over the years.

Recently, a Canadian company called Green Data Real Estate Inc. hoped to buy the more than 300 acre campus for use as a data center and commercial rental space. However, they missed the final closing deadline in July. The property has been “offered for sale again to a qualified buyer,” according to an August report from the US Marshals Service.

At the time, U.S. Department of Justice representative Mary Butler said a sale was not likely to be closed in the next 90 days.

Kelly heard from representatives of CAI Investment about a month later, he said.

“A few weeks ago they were in town to see the building and they asked a lot of questions, but they weren’t sure at the time exactly what they were going to do,” Kelly said. “But they saw it as an opportunity for further development.”

It is not known when the property could be operational again.

“We are in talks with a number of different tenants, so depending on where we land, the type of use and construction will dictate our final schedule,” Tucker said.

Until recently, taxes on campus, the largest taxpayer in Harvard City and Harvard School District 50, had been overdue since 2017. This does not include a brief period in which a signaling company based in Ohio poured some of that money into trying to buy the campus. These payments, however, were recorded as a sale in error once the company pulled out in 2020.

On August 6, the Marshals Service allocated $ 500,000 towards these taxes using part of the non-refundable money that Green Data had already paid to the property. The remaining unpaid taxes, just under $ 500,000, are expected to be covered by a portion of Tuesday’s sale.

This payment has yet to be reflected on the McHenry County Treasurer’s Office website on Wednesday afternoon and several attempts to reach Treasurer Glenda Miller have failed.

The city has raised concerns over the years about the deteriorating condition of Harvard property. Removing mold and replacing the sprinkler system are the main renovations to take place, county officials said.

“We had a very short deadline with the US Marshals, so we are still in the process of finalizing our budget,” Tucker said. “We worked with the city to develop a plan to bring the facility up to standard in a phased approach.”

CAI also made an offer of $ 5,000 on Tuesday to buy the old Harvard Police Department building in hopes of turning it into a “boutique hotel,” Kelly said.

Tucker confirmed CAI’s intentions for the property, noting that the city needs additional housing.

“There is only one other hotel in the city, causing huge demand for another operator. The development, stabilization and operation of the hotel will generate tax revenue, increase tourism and create many jobs for the local economy, ”Tucker said. “With CAI’s acquisition of the Motorola facility, we will already have boots on the ground in the city, which will allow us to start work as soon as possible.”

CAI placed the lowest of the three bids on the property, Kelly said. The mayor expects each of the bidders to present their plan to the city in October, he said.

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