Landmark Agreement Reached to Spur Investment in Former Copley Hospital Property in Aurora
New Owners to Immediately Remediate, Preserve and Secure Campus for Future Redevelopment
The City of Aurora has reached a landmark redevelopment agreement regarding the 340,000 square foot historic Copley Hospital campus that will facilitate an immediate environmental remediation of the property and its transfer to a new ownership group, Fox Valley Developers, LLC.
“After decades of decay and delay, we are moving forward with a partner who will immediately improve the campus by removing the environmental hazards and toxic debris, so that the property can be completely redeveloped,” said Mayor Richard Irvin. “This property has been a detriment to the community for far too long and its repurposing is of economic significance to all of Aurora.”
Fox Valley Developers, LLC is an Aurora-centric group of business leaders who have come together with the shared vision of preserving, restoring and repurposing the historic campus. Members of the development and investment group include Jason Konrad, Russell Woerman, Paul Konrad, Dr. Stathis Poulakidas, Ronald Woerman and Michael Poulakidas.
“As business leaders invested in Aurora already, we know there is tremendous value and untapped potential in our community,” said Michael Poulakidas, a local attorney, business owner and member of Fox Valley Developers. “We couldn’t sit around any longer waiting for someone else to come forward. We realized it’s time to step up and help the City solve this problem by improving this property in a way that the entire community benefits.”
The campus has devolved from a neighborhood nuisance to a threat to health and safety of the public, especially students going to school at Bardwell Elementary directly across the street. The walls, ceilings and floors were ravaged by vandals and exposure to the elements as the buildings sat unsecured for years. As a result, toxic debris such as asbestos and lead paint, is commingled and scattered across the property’s buildings and is not properly secured.
“This partnership and redevelopment agreement is equal parts environmental justice and economic development, because no one deserves to live or attend elementary school next to an abandoned campus that has unsecured toxic debris flying around,” said Alderman Bill Donnell, who’s ward includes the Bardwell neighborhood and old Copley hospital. “We are helping a group of dedicated and visionary Aurora business leaders finally clean up this mess so that the community can benefit from a complete transformation of the property.”
Under the terms of the redevelopment agreement, Fox Valley Developers will be responsible for the environmental remediation of the property. During this time, the group will also undertake interior demolition and preservation work to prepare and preserve the buildings for future redevelopment. The estimated cost for this phase is $12-16 million.
After the campus has been deemed clean of environmental hazards to the satisfaction of local and state environmental regulators, the developers will be eligible for up to a $3 million reimbursement from the City. The City is not obligated to reimburse any costs until the remediation work has been successfully completed by Fox Valley Developers.
While this initial phase is completed, the new owners will complete the final architectural and engineering plans for the adaptive reuse of the property. The group has identified an innovate and in-demand concept that works within the footprint of the campus, that will bring new medical and residential uses to the neighborhood. The historical visages of the buildings will be retained.
Recognizing that a public-private partnership is necessary to remediate and repurpose the campus, there have already been preliminary discussions with the Fox Valley Park District about establishing new public parkland as part of the completed development.
“We will immediately remediate, preserve and secure the buildings, so the neighborhood and school don’t have to live with a health hazard next door,” said Russell Woerman. “In parallel with this important work, we will finalize and fine-tune our plans for the complete transformation of the campus so that it is once again a source of pride and prosperity in the neighborhood.”
Before starting the public zoning and approval process, Fox Valley Developers will meet with neighbors and the community to discuss and review plans. The development team expects to start the formal approval process by the end of spring 2019.
“We thank Mayor Irvin, Alderman Donnell and the entire City Council, for having confidence in our team to finally deliver progress on this site and move Aurora Forward,” said Jason Konrad. “We also want to thank David Dibo and the economic development team for helping facilitate and negotiate this plan to solve the property’s complex problems.”
Fox Valley Developers has assembled a team of experts to help plan and refine their reuse concept. Konrad Construction Company will serve as general contractor for the remediation, preservation and redevelopment. Kluber Architects is the architect of record on the project.