Local

Harvard Motorola building's owner owes $329K in late property taxes

1.5-million-square-foot campus hasn't had electricity since spring

Kyle Grillot - kgrillot@shawmedia.com
The vacant Motorola campus, now owned by Optima International, appears to have reduced maintenance on the grounds. The power has been shut off, and the property taxes, more than $329,000 for this year, have not been paid.
Kyle Grillot - kgrillot@shawmedia.com The vacant Motorola campus, now owned by Optima International, appears to have reduced maintenance on the grounds. The power has been shut off, and the property taxes, more than $329,000 for this year, have not been paid.

HARVARD – Electricity at the Motorola building has been turned off since the spring. When showing the building to prospective tenants or buyers, Charlie Eldredge, the executive director of the Harvard Economic Development Corp., and real estate brokers have had to use a flashlight to lead people around.

Weeds are growing through the cracks of the empty parking lot, adding to the signs that activity on the property has gone to minimum levels.

Eldredge said the building is in fine condition for now.

“If they don’t turn the heat on this winter, it won’t be fine,” Eldredge said.

“Going forward without power will be very difficult,” he added.

As brokers try to find a tenant or buyer for the 1.5-million-square-foot former Motorola campus at 2001 N. Division St., Harvard, that has been vacant since 2003, Optima International is delinquent on the property taxes it owes on the property.

Optima International owes more than $329,000 in property taxes on the property after it did not pay its tax bill this year, said Glenda Miller, chief deputy McHenry County treasurer.

The company has been sent a delinquent notice, Miller said.

Miller added Optima, who bought the property in 2008 for $16.75 million, paid its property taxes last year.

If the taxes remain unpaid by Oct. 24, the taxes will be put up for sale in an auction. The winning bidder then would be able to place a lien on the property.

Still the property remains listed by Jones, Lang and LaSalle. The asking price has been lowered to $25 million, Eldredge said. In the spring, the asking price ranged from $32 million to $37 million.

Phone calls to Optima International, and Jones, Lang and LaSalle have not been returned.

City officials don’t have any plans to try to control the building.

“It’s private property,” City Administrator Dave Nelson said. “We don’t own it. It’s a building for sale. It’s in private ownership. Whatever they do with it, is their choice to do with it.”

Eldredge said a maintenance staff is maintaining the property that includes a fitness center, two child care centers, 500-seat auditorium, and 1,100-seat cafeteria all move-in ready. He said it remains a beautiful structure.

Eldredge said two China-based companies have shown interest. He said he didn’t believe they would look at the building unless they had serious interest.

Eldredge did say the building can be useful for different types of businesses or entities, such as an educational institution, light manufacturing or a distribution center.

“It can be converted to a branch for a college with multiple types of training programs,” Eldredge said. “It has a modern and top-notch material handling system in the building.”

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