Editorial | Rantoul deal falls through

Editorial | Rantoul deal falls through

A California businessman is no longer pursuing an agreement to buy some of the former Chanute structures, but other parties are showing interest.

The village of Rantoul thought — and hoped — it had a deal to sell a handful of buildings at the old Chanute Air Force Base.

But in the end, it fell apart. California businessman John Van Der Velde told village officials that he's no longer pursuing a tentative agreement to purchase four hangars as well as the building that houses an AT&T call center. He said that he's not able to meet the due diligence requirements outlined by the village.

Rantoul officials had hoped to wrap up the contract by mid-June. Now they must start over in their efforts to market the property.

Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer sounded an optimistic tone when he noted that the village has pending expressions of interests in the properties.

Of course, one in the hand is worth two in the bush. So closing a deal with Van Der Velde would have been nice. But a buyer who can't meet the initial terms of a contract can hardly be relied on to fulfill his end of a finished agreement.

Business arrangements with Van Der Velde were somewhat confusing.

What Van Der Velde planned to do with the properties is not known. Equally confusing were the negotiations that began in March 2018 that generated agreements that required repeated alterations.

What's crystal clear in this case is that the village went far out of its way to reach an agreement that, in the end, was just not going to happen. Let's hope for better luck next time.

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