La Salle investment group wins bid for 45 acre property off Interstate 80

City spoke with developers prior to their bid about working with them moving forward


A prime spot for development in La Salle has been acquired by an investment group, just a month after the La Salle City Council had passed on bidding on the property.

The 45-acre property at the northwest corner of Interstate 80 and Route 178 was won at auction by La Salle Ventures LLC. The new entity is composed of nine local investors, Dr. Paul Perona, David J. Sickley and Dan Eiten. This is at the Utica exit from Interstate 80.

The group pitched the ideas to the city of La Salle representatives prior to bidding on the parcel, according to a Thursday news release.

“The city of La Salle was thankful to work with La Salle ventures prior to their bid and were enthused by the possibilities they had pitched,” Mayor Jeff Grove said. “The city is glad the parcel will remain in local hands and the city looks forward to helping aggressively market this land for development.”

The La Salle City Council voted against bidding on the property with a 5-4 tally, with Tom Ptak, “Doc” Lavieri, Joe Jeppson and Jordan Crane voting no, during its Nov. 27 meeting.

In November, Jeppson said he voted against the bidding because he didn’t believe the city of La Salle should be in the real estate business. He also was concerned about some developments within the city that have been delayed.

The subject of this site has been undeveloped for 15 years after the proposed Frontier Park consisting of a motel, restaurant and indoor water park failed to get off the ground and the property subsequently foreclosed.

During the November meeting, Grove said the auction for the property was on Dec. 12 and the bidding started at $825,000. The mayor said the property has potential being at the gateway to 2.2 million visitors to Starved Rock State Park. The city would stand to gather any sales tax or motel tax, should the property be developed.

Mark Voss, who owns a successful campground and apartment complex contiguous to the west of the site, said he was looking to expand.

“We are hopefully about to acquire 20-plus acres from the new owner,” Voss said in a news release. “To expand our campground and apartments, as well as other possible opportunities.”