At approximately 280 acres, the property formerly occupied by the Tinley Park Mental Health Center (roughly bound by 183rd Street, Harlem Avenue, 175th Street and 80th Avenue), is the single-largest development opportunity in Tinley Park. The land is owned by the State of Illinois.
After several years of negotiations, in spring 2019, the State announced it would sell the property to the Village. Over the course of 2020, the State had no substantive discussions with the Village despite multiple efforts by the Village to engage in these discussions. The State passed a bill in spring 2020 that allocated $15 million to clean up the site. Unfortunately, this money is nowhere to be found in the State’s 2022 budget. Village staff continue to reach out to representatives to determine what happened to the $15 million, but have not been given an answer thus far.
Below is a brief timeline of the property, starting with the most recent developments and progressing backward from there.
- May 2021: Village releases a video of the condition of the Mental Health Center: https://youtu.be/Zm4VZwSOC-k
- May 2021:A water main beneath the property bursts, wasting 2.1 million gallons of water (equal to $17,000). The outfall of water from the break could potentially discharge water laced with asbestos and other hazardous materials into nearby wells, as well as into the Union Drainage Ditch structures, which heads south to Hickory Creek into the Des Plaines, Illinois and Mississippi rivers and into Gulf of Mexico. The Village demands that the State clean up the property for the health and safety of residents.
- April 2021: Village staff identify several code violations on the property, including hazardous materials such as friable asbestos and black mold, remnants of a self-contained electrical grid, gas lines, rusting vehicles and equipment, collapsed structures, broken windows, graffitied walls, overgrown foliage and endless tunnels on and beneath the grounds of the site. The Village sends these violations to the State, which claims it’s exempt from Tinley Park codes. Village officials attempt to initiate contact with the State senator, sending more than a dozen emails and placing several phone calls. All have so far gone unanswered.
- February 2021: Rep. Tim Ozinga introduces HB3011 which authorizes the Department of Central Management Services (CMS) to sell State property to the Village of Tinley Park at fair market value for economic development. The bill currently sits in committee.
- March 2020: Sen. Hastings and Gov. Pritzker issue joint press releases agreeing to move forward with the Tinley Park Mental Health Center property.
- February 2020: Village staffers meet with Congressman Bobby Rush resulting in the Congressman sending a letter to the USEPA to raise attention to the environmental concerns. Village also sends a letter to State representatives asking that the Tinley Park Mental Health Center property be remediated. This request has gone largely unanswered.
- November 2019: The Village sends a FOIA request seeking land appraisals after the State ended negotiations. The FOIA request is denied.
- October 2019: After several months of negotiations, the State sends a letter to the Village stating it would “no longer negotiate land sale at this time.”
- Mid-2019: An interested developer approaches the Village with a $450 million entertainment district idea, to include a racino. The Village continues talks with State, but the State now begins talking about a different price that could include long-term lease payments to the State.
- May 2019: The Village has several meetings with the State about purchasing the property. The State agrees to sell the property for $4.5 million, but refuses to give an appraisal to validate this number. The Village sends a letter agreeing to this price.
- January 2019: The Village Board approves an Exclusive Negotiation Rights Agreement (ENRA) with Melody Square, LLC. SB Friedman, the Village’s retained consultant, recommends that the Village enter into the ENRA with Melody Square to advance the development and potential acquisition process for the TPMHC property for a period of six months.
- July 2018: The Village issues a Request for Proposal (RFP) to three firms interested in developing the State Property. The three developers – Renaissance Downtowns Urban Holdings, Urban Street Group LLC and Melody Square – were among five firms that responded to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) the Village issued in January. Only firms that submitted the RFQ and met the qualifications were invited to submit a proposal.
- April 2018: Village officials travel to Springfield to meet with the new CMS director, who commits to completing the third of three appraisals on the TPMHC property. So far, these appraisals have yet to materialize.
- March 2018: Village officials meet with the IEPA to discuss funding options for environmental cleanup on the TPMHC site.
- Early 2018: The Village issues an RFQ to the development community; this results in five proposals. The Village also hosts an online developer’s webinar on the TPMHC property covering the project’s goal, history, site details, ownership, incentives, schedule and a Q&A.
- June 2017: Village officials meet with the CMS director to restart negotiations on the property. Because of the time period that passed, the State indicates that they are working on getting new appraisals. CMS also indicates that there were discussions with other State agencies about utilizing the property.
- June 2016: The Village Board postpones future public meetings while it evaluates the feasibility of building a sports complex on the site.
- Feb. to June, 2016: The Village hosts three open house events so the public can weigh in on a potential master plan for the TPMHC property.
- July 21, 2015: The Village Board adopts 2015-O-028, which creates the Tinley Park Mental Health Center TIF District.
- Spring 2015: The Village continues to discuss a purchase agreement with State, which wants to review all contracts and agreements. With a change in the Village Board, Village officials want more information on the project, including assurances of public input and possibility of reducing the price of the property.
- December 2014: The Village conducts a TPMHC TIF study and asks for feedback from the local taxing bodies.
- October 2014: The Village begins negotiating a purchase agreement with the State; the asking price is $4.165 million.
- July 2014: Tetra Tech conducts a hazardous materials survey on the property.
- 2014/2015: The Village hires Farr and Associates to create a “vision statement,” conduct land use and development analyses, and draft a master plan.
- 2012: The State of Illinois closes the Tinley Park Mental Health Center.
- 1990s/2000s: The Village expresses interest in purchasing the property several times.
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