Pioneer closes in on deal for old Family Service building

McHENRY – The 41,493-square-foot building left vacant by last year's collapse of a major mental health provider likely will soon be filled by Pioneer Center for Human Services.

The county's largest social service agency is in the process of purchasing for $2.25 million the former facility of Family Service and Community Mental Health Center, 4100 Veterans Parkway, McHenry.

The deal now awaits clearance from engineers before entering a final closing stage. Pioneer CEO Patrick Maynard said he anticipates the deal will be final within 60 days.

The announcement comes after a search for more space that started more than a year ago, Maynard said.

"We're not going to sell any of our other buildings; we're going to repurpose," he said. "We have programs that have literally been put in closets because we've run out of space."

The closing of Family Service nearly tripled the number of individuals seeking behavioral services from Pioneer, the agency says.

It also points to health care reform as a driver of clientele.

The three-story building comes stocked with furnishings and technology such as laptops, telephones and security, and at a price – about $56 a square foot – that Maynard called an "unbelievable" deal.

Its lone tenant is Rockford-based Rosecrance Health Network, which Pioneer has objected to helping fill a gap in services left by Family Service.

Maynard said Pioneer will issue Rosecrance a 120-day notice to leave the building once the deal is finalized, but he added the two sides have been in contact about a pending deal.

"I'm assuming that they've been looking," he said.

Pioneer plans to slowly move its operation to the new building, starting, Maynard suggested, with administrators on the third floor. He said it could take a year to complete the move.

Pioneer Board Chairman Mike Moushey said the agency has talked about bringing in outside tenants, such as a pharmacy.

"We want to see what we can do to provide other services in the building, to provide kind of a full-service health care center there," Moushey said.

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