Seventh amendment: Village board says this is last time it will change hangar sale agreement

RANTOUL — The village of Rantoul has agreed to amend its agreement one more time to allow a Los Angeles businessman to buy four hangars and the AT&T call center at Rantoul Airport.

But this will be the last time.

John Van Der Velde will buy the properties for what will total $5.450 million — the same price as originally agreed to. Under the new agreement, however, the village will make lease payments for hangar rental over 10 years rather than five.

If approved by the village board at its March 12 meeting, it would mark the seventh amendment to the purchase agreement. There will be no more amendments.

“We have indicated to Mr. Van Der Velde (if the money is not forthcoming) on June 15, then the village is no longer interested in a deal,” Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer said.

June 15 is the closing date.

There was some debate whether the village board would even agree to this latest amendment when it met in closed session March 5.

Eisenhauer talked about the reason for Van Der Velde’s latest proposed amendment.

“As he moves forward into making a large investment, he wanted to make sure he had a tenant for a term longer than five years,” Eisenhauer said. “At the same time, we have some uses for that hangar, especially as it relates to the Half Century of Progress Farm Show, which we hope to keep for much longer than five years.”

The hangar referenced is Hangar 3, where farm show officials will move some of their operations and store some of their equipment. It previously had stored items in Hangar 2. The biennial farm show draws upwards of 100,000 people to Rantoul at the airport.

Everything Van Der Velde pays up front will be kept in a special account from which the village will make lease payments to him over 10 years.

The new agreement will cost the village no more money than the previous agreement.

Eisenhauer said the deal is beneficial to both sides.

“I think everybody with the village wants to see the deal get done,” Eisenhauer said. “The only frustration is really in how long it has taken to get this deal accomplished. The board also wants to make sure the village is financially protected at all times.”

Eisenhauer said even though there have been a number of amendments, “at no time has the price decreased.”

The deal is rather unique in its make-up.

At closing, Van Der Velde will be required to pay $6.223 million, with another $5.925 million paid to the village 15 months after closing.

The village would then make monthly lease payments to Van Der Velde for Hangar 3 over 10 years —  amounts beginning at $599,500 a year and ending at $694,984 a year — for a total of $6.275 million.

The lease-back arrangement was a mechanism to protect the village to ensure Van Der Velde makes the balloon payment 15 months after closing.

The $6.2 million paid upfront by Van Der Velde will be placed in a separate village account to be used to lease the hangar, “so if at some point he closes on it and then 15 months later doesn’t make the balloon payment ... then the deal is off. ...” The lease then becomes null and void, and the village would foreclose on the property and keep what’s left of the $6 million.

It’s a complicated arrangement that village officials are crossing their fingers will remain intact.



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