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HEYWORTH - A $350,000 bid on a 30-acre parcel west of the U.S. 51-U.S. 136 interchange has cleared the way for development on land that has sat idle for more than five years.

Central Illinois Properties, a development group that includes Bloomington developer Larry Hundman, submitted the sole bid on the property. Bid documents indicate a closing date of April 1, 2006.

Mayor Steve Crum expressed satisfaction that the village has finally gotten out of the real estate business.

"I think we've made a major step forward for the Village of Heyworth," Crum said during this week's village board meeting.

Concerns of other developer

Village trustees noted concerns expressed by Oscar Woods, another developer with interests in the village, that the property would draw possible tenants away from his development. Carl Schrof, a real estate agent who has been working with the village to market the property, said he felt that the two sites would be complementary.

Schrof said CIP would most likely develop a mix of office and warehouse space.

"I look at it from the standpoint that competition breeds good business," said Schrof.

Brian Hundman, a spokesman for Central Illinois properties, said the firm will be finalizing uses for the property in the coming months, but agreed one option being studied is construction of a warehouse park with some retail business.

Village trustee Jerry Schulz, chairman of the real estate committee, said he felt the concerns were unwarranted. "He's (Woods) making the argument that this is going to be a competitive situation," Schulz said. "What bothers me is we don't know that for a fact, and in conversations with Carl, that's just not the case."

Site subject of controversy

The village purchased the property from Jim and Betty Trotter in December 2000 in anticipation of attracting a developer. The site became the subject of controversy when a proposed project by Wal-Mart to build a regional tire distribution center fell through in February 2002.

The village has been trying to sell the property while cash-renting it for farmland. Village trustees expressed the hope that development would finally move forward on the site. Schrof said he felt the property would not sit idle.

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