October 03, 2023
Business | Northwest Herald


Former Motorola campus in Harvard sold for $9.3M in online auction

HARVARD – The 1.52-million-square-foot former Motorola campus has been sold to an unnamed bidder for $9.3 million, a Harvard official said.

Online auction house Ten-X.com auctioned Motorola's former regional headquarters, which has sat vacant since 2003, during a sale that ended April 20. The opening bid for the site, featuring four multi-story buildings, two heliports and other amenities, started at $2.7 million.

Harvard City Administrator Dave Nelson said despite not knowing who purchased the expansive site, or their plans for the facility, he remains optimistic about the prospect of a new owner. He said his primary concern is putting the facility to use in a way that will bring jobs to the area.

“It’s progress,” Nelson said. “We need to be able to move forward from the old owner and see something positive happen there.”

The property is in escrow, according to the Ten-X website.

Ten-X teamed up with Chicago-based real estate broker JLL to promote the three-day auction. JLL started marketing the site shortly after Miami-based Optima International purchased the campus for $16.75 million in 2008.

Since then, Optima International has made a minimal investment in the property, even showing reluctance to make improvements that could help market the site, Harvard Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Charles Eldredge previously told the Northwest Herald.

About 2014, the company, through its limited liability company Optima Ventures, stopped heating, maintaining and paying property taxes on the vacant campus after years of doing so. A private equity group in Chicago eventually secured a tax lien on the property after Optima Ventures failed to pay more than $300,000 in property taxes in fall 2014.

Built in 1997, Motorola’s site at 2001 N. Division St. includes a two-story, 619,590-square-foot manufacturing building, a 355,515-square-foot distribution center, a five-story office building, a two-story services building and warehouse space, according to Ten-X.

Aside from the heliports, amenities throughout the site include two daycare facilities, a cafeteria that can fit 1,100 people, a fitness center and a 500-seat auditorium. Biking and walking trails that border ponds and undeveloped acreage also adorn the former campus.

Ten-X, JLL and Optima International officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.