Board of Trustees addresses pending sale of Hoffman Estates campus


Sean Reed

NIU’s Hoffman Estates campus opened in 1992 and was the first regional education center to open in the village.

By Abigail Lamoreaux and Madelaine Vikse

In a special meeting called on Thursday, the NIU Board of Trustees confirmed that the Hoffman Estates campus, 5555 Trillium Blvd, has a potential buyer and that the university should close on the sale quickly.

On March 18, 2021, the Board had determined that the Hoffman Estates campus was “surplus to the university needs” and began the selling process. Offers were made later that year, but they fell through because the property “did not meet the needs of the potential buyers,” according to the agenda.

Now, the Board is ready to close with this new offer. It has yet to be disclosed who the buyer is and how much they are paying for the property.

The net proceeds from the sale will be put into a restricted cost center that will be used for campus deferred maintenance and emergency repair requirements, according to a Sept. 2021 meeting agenda

The offer will remain open for 60 to 90 days after acceptance, according to the Board of Trustees Aug. 18 agenda. “Efforts to close the sale may need to move quickly to accommodate the potential buyer’s timeline,” the agenda reads.

A motion to approve the sale was carried unanimously.

After negotiations and an agreement outlining terms is complete, it could take three months before all steps are finalized. The board granted university leaders the ability to sign off on the sale at the meeting.

Before the departure of Vice President Sarah Chinniah, President Lisa Freeman, Vice President Vernese Edghill-Walden and Chinniah held signature authority. Now, General Counsel Bryan Perry will be that third signatory.

History of Hoffman Estates campus

The Hoffman Estates campus first opened in 1992. In Sept. 2021, the Board of Trustees approved its sale.

The campus was made available for purchase in June 2021 and received an offer, but the potential buyer and amount of sale were not disclosed and the closing date was still pending, the Northern Star reported.

When the campus was made available for purchase, Holly Nicholson, president of the University Advisory Committee, raised concerns, pointing out that it will look like NIU is leaving that community and that NIU isn’t thriving. Eric Wasowicz, Board of Trustees chairperson, said that the university is handling the money of the people of Illinois and the university needs to be responsible for it.

At the time, NIU president Lisa Freeman said that students taking classes at the campus were typically commuter students who work a full-time job. COVID-19 and an increase in online classes were factors in NIU’s decision to sell the property.