Sale off for former Audubon school

Posted Online: July 09, 2014, 4:54 pm
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By Eric Timmons,
ROCK ISLAND - The deal to sell the site of the former Audubon Elementary School to a Chicago developer for $700,000 has fallen through.

The prospective buyer pulled out of the deal after the tenant he had lined up for the site at 2601 18th Ave. decided they were no longer interested, according to real estate agent Ted Rebitzer.

Chicago developer Thomas Morabito signed the contract to buy the property from the Rock Island/Milan School District.

Mr. Morabito planned to develop the site and then lease it to a retail tenant and Mr. Rebitzer was acting as his broker.

School board members voted unanimously in May to accept the $700,000 offer for the Audubon site from Mr. Morabito.

The purchase agreement included a number of contingencies that would allow Mr. Morabito to pull out of the agreement.

The agreement to buy the property also included a condition that a development agreement that likely would have included taxpayer-funded incentives be secured with the city first.

Jeff Eder, Rock Island's economic development director, said Wednesday that he had not been approached about a development agreement.

The former Audubon Elementary School at the site was demolished last year at a cost to the school district of $280,000.

In 2012, Fareway Stores had agreed to buy Audubon for $475,000 and the company planned to tear down the school to build a grocery store.

But after a legal challenge and protests from community members who wanted the building preserved, Fareway pulled out of the purchase agreement. Opponents of the deal also had concerns about the impact of a large retail development on the character of the local neighborhood.

Rock Island/Milan School District superintendent Mike Oberhaus could not be reached for comment Wednesday.


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  Today is Friday, Sept. 19, the 262nd day of 2014. There are 103 days left in the year.
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1889 -- 125 years ago: The George Fleming company had begun its dried fruit packing in a branch plant on 16th Street, Rock Island, employing nearly a hundred workers.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The cornerstone of the new Eagles home was laid. Building committee members were John Kobeman, Fred Ehmke and Frank Wich.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Former Kaiser Wilhelm, in exile, is sad as the Nazis march with communists.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Ninety-two members of the acappella choir at Davenport's West High School today accepted an invitation to perform at the New York World's Fair on June 13, 1965.
1989 -- 25 years ago: A Rock Island woman is one of 50 winners of $10,000 in cash in the Illinois State Lottery's "Celebration "89" instant ticket game. Dawn Loeffler was the third winner to be chosen through daily drawings that began Aug. 28 and will run 50 consecutive days.

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