The village of Brookfield last week issued nearly $40 million of variable-rate bonds on behalf of the Chicago Zoological Society to finance projects at the Brookfield Zoo, including construction of the Great Bear Wilderness area.
The 30-year bonds will be remarketed weekly. Northern Trust Co. served as underwriter and is providing a letter of credit for the debt, said Ken Kaduk, the Zoological Society’s senior vice president for finance and administration.
The society, an infrequent borrower that last issued new money in 1995 and a refunding debt in 2005, did not seek underlying ratings. It had about $8 million of debt remaining on its books from the 1995 issue before the sale last week.
About $27 million from the new issue will finance construction of the Great Bear Wilderness, which will house the zoo’s polar bears and brown bears. It will also include an expanded exhibit for the zoo’s bison and eagles and will include a new restaurant and gift shop. The exhibit is expected to open some time next year.
Additional proceeds will help finance a major renovation of the Children’s Zoo and other infrastructure repairs and improvements to the Seven Seas area that holds the zoo’s dolphin collection. No additional debt is planned.
“This should hold us for some time,” Kaduk said.