Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 board members voted 6-1 Thursday to begin their second attempt to sell 62 vacant acres in Schaumburg by approving a contract with a home developer that was last year's third-highest bidder.
Nitti Development LLC of Glendale Heights bid $17.7 million for the property in early 2018 and indicated it could still honor that after two higher bidders dropped out of the process in recent weeks.
M/I Homes of Chicago's top bid of $20.5 million was approved by the school board in March 2018, but it dropped out of the sale on April 30 of this year, the last day of its contractual approval period.
Second-highest bidder Pulte Home Co. LLC of Schaumburg had offered $20.1 million last year but recently indicated it could no longer honor that bid.
All three companies' bids had exceeded the district's minimum of $17 million.
But District 211 board member Peter Dombrowski Thursday preceded his lone vote against the sale by suggesting the district first update its own assessment of the property to make sure taxpayers receive a fair amount.
Board member Anna Klimkowicz was among the majority who thought there was greater risk in pausing.
"We did have a higher bid, and the reason they withdrew was because of the economy," she said. "At this point I think we need to continue moving ahead."
New board member Mark Cramer voiced a desire to first look into why Nitti might also drop out before closing on the sale next year but ultimately voted with the majority "with reluctance."
The property is bordered by Summit Drive to the west, Plum Grove Road to the east, Wise Road to the south and existing houses extending from Weathersfield Way to the north.
District 211 bought the land nearly 50 years ago for a potential sixth high school that never was needed.
The village has identified the site as one of its last places for large growth of single-family homes. M/I Homes' updated proposal in February included 98 single-family homes and 42 duplex units, Schaumburg Community Development Director Julie Fitzgerald said.
Nothing discussed or discovered during M/I Homes' review process has changed the village's vision for such development, she said.