(Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois)—Picone Advisory Group has successfully negotiated and closed the sale of a significant property in Wheaton, Illinois. The parcel of land and structures on it had been owned by The Institute for the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) since 1946 and was sold to PulteGroup. The sale closed in May 2017.
The complicated deal had many moving parts, all of which were managed by Picone Advisory Group, thus showcasing the firm’s broad capabilities and ability to handle large-scale, complex projects. The company specializes in strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, operational enhancement, business turnarounds and restructurings, asset disposition, litigation support, neutral claim administration, real estate, and crisis management.
Picone Advisory Group was retained in June 2013 to provide IBVM with real estate consulting services. IBVM is a worldwide religious community of Catholic women dedicated to serving God by responding to the needs of people through educational, pastoral and social ministries. In Illinois, the Sisters resided in a convent at the Loretto Center located on the Wheaton property. The 16-acre parcel included a 19th century mansion on its landscaped grounds.
The first order of business was a full assessment of the property, including current operations and potential revenue generating opportunities. Upon completion of the evaluation, Picone Advisory Group presented several strategic options to the IBVM Advisory Board.
“Our recommendation was to sell the property,” said Christopher L. Picone, president of Picone Advisory Group. “We firmly believed that was in the best interest of the organization and all of the Sisters.”
Although it was a difficult decision to sell the estate that had been their home for 71 years, the IBVM Advisory Board agreed with Picone Advisory Group’s recommendation. At this point, the strategic consulting firm conducted a confidential marketing process to locate the most advantageous buyer. This yielded multiple offers and Picone Advisory Group helped the organization analyze them all. The firm also managed the due diligence process and negotiated with potential purchasers.
According to Picone, “This was a very complicated sale due to significant environmental contamination on site, complex zoning issues, and the historic nature of the 19th century mansion located on the property. So we knew not everyone would be the right fit.”
And, in fact, two contracts were terminated during the due diligence period for various reasons. Ultimately, Picone Advisory Group inked a deal with PulteGroup that successfully closed in May 2017.
Prior to closing, full remediation of the property was completed and a No Further Remediation (NFR) letter was issued by the Illinois EPA. This letter confirms that the site does not constitute a significant risk of harm to human health or the environment.
Picone Advisory Group worked closely with both PulteGroup and the City of Wheaton to receive municipal approval of development plans despite significant public opposition. The firm also worked with PulteGroup to obtain approval from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency to allow demolition of the historic building. This included a “museum quality” archive process.
But the firm’s role did not stop there. Picone Advisory Group supported IBVM even further by coordinating the relocation of the Sisters and the disposition of surplus furniture and other salvage items prior to the May 2017 closing.
Today, PulteGroup has begun sales for the 48 homes that will be built on the land. Proceeds from the sale of the property are being used to fund IBVM’s retirement plan and health care needs as well as continue the order’s mission.
“It’s rewarding to have found a solution that put this not-for-profit’s retirement fund back in a solid financial position,” said Picone.
Based in Chicago’s western suburbs, Picone Advisory Group provides consulting services to an international client base in a wide variety of industry settings including: financial services, manufacturing, aerospace, building and construction, food and food service, homeland security and first response, healthcare, energy, real estate, wholesale and retail services, technology, telecommunications, and transportation.