The Aurora City Council has approved an agreement to redevelop the former Copley Hospital campus that includes immediate environmental remediation of the property and its transfer to a new ownership group, Fox Developers, LLC
The agreement, approved unanimously at a Council meeting last week, calls for a cleanup that could cost between $12 to $16 million.
The developer could be eligible for up to a $3 million reimbursement from the city, according to terms of the deal.
“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 Aurora 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-area group of business leaders seeking to preserve, restore and repurpose the eight-building complex, located at the southeast corner of Weston and Lincoln Avenues.
The property has been vacant since 1994 when Copley Hospital operations moved to a new campus on East Ogden Ave.
Since then, the old site has had a series of owners and failed redevelopment plans. Last year, the city of Aurora threatened to sue then-owners over the property’s lack of security and presence of asbestos.
The priorities of the new ownership group start with cleanup followed by eventual redevelopment of the property.
“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.”
Other members of the development and investment group include Jason Konrad, Russell Woerman, Paul Konrad, Dr. Stathis Poulakidas and Ronald Woerman.
According to a statement, the city said the campus has devolved from a neighborhood nuisance to a threat to the public’s health and safety.
The walls, ceilings and floors were damaged 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,” said Fourth Ward Ald. Bill Donnell. “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.”
Fox Valley Developers pledged to undertake environmental remediation, interior demolition and preservation work to prepare and preserve the buildings for future redevelopment.
When the initial cleanup is completed, the new owners will complete final architectural and engineering plans for the adaptive reuse of the property. The group has identified an innovative and in-demand concept that works within the footprint of the campus, which will bring new medical and residential uses to the neighborhood.
The historical exterior of the buildings would 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.
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.
Fox Valley Developers said they’ve assembled a team 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.
“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 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.”
—- ‘Immediate’ cleanup planned as part of latest Copley plan —