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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