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Kane County seeks market price for Sixth Street property in Geneva

GENEVA – Geneva Library and Kane County officials are working on the potential sale of the Sixth Street School property to see what offers would come in from private developers. 

Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said the county's next step is a resolution for a real estate expert to get the property on the market.

"What will the market say is the true cost?" Lauzen asked.

The county owns the former school at 210 S. Sixth St., Geneva. The library has been interested in the site as a location for a new library building.

The property is 90,000 square feet, with a 24,332-square-foot, three-story former school, built in 1924, in a residential area of Geneva's historic downtown. The Kane County Regional Office of Education is currently housed in the building.

This spring, both library and county officials sought new appraisals for the Sixth Street property in anticipation of the county planning to sell it.

The library's appraisal range was $750,000 to $1.2 million, officials said. Lauzen said the county's appraisal was $1.7 million to $1.95 million – which includes $250,000 for razing the building.

"With such a disparity there, we have several options to consider," Lauzen said. "The basic option is – which one of these very knowledgable appraisals is closer to the reality of the market?"

The library has the right of first refusal, so if a developer makes an offer, the library can match any price that comes in, Lauzen said.

"Another option would be for us and the library board to sit down together and say something like, 'Split the difference between the two appraisals,'" Lauzen said. "We want to be good partners with them. We want to get the maximum value for the taxpayers of the property. ... It has to be a fair, obvious compromise."

Lauzen said the county wants to sell the property because the building is too expensive to maintain. Geneva Library Board president Esther Steel said she agrees with Lauzen that the building should be put on the market to measure its value.

Though property acquisition is on the agenda for a closed session at the library board's meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the library, at 127 James St., Steel said no action will be taken.

Also at Thursday's meeting, library architect Anthony Oliver of Cordogan, Clark and Associates will give a report of a space use study on the current library building.

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