After nearly two years of holding the right to buy the parcel at Marion and Ontario streets, Granite Realty Partners has sold its stake in the property to a developer represented by John Schiess.
The nearly 60,000-square-foot property is owned by Bank One (which is now owned by Chase Manhattan), which leases the 105-space parking lot to the Village of Oak Park.
Schiess has already met with representatives of the Sanctuary, the condominium building abutting the site to the east. Ill will had developed between the neighbors and Granite's Rob Palley during the time he spent trying to develop the site "by right" (conforming to zoning regulations).
Zoning would allow a 125-foot, or 12-story, building on the site, but Schiess said he could not "come close" to building that high, even if the project requested relief from zoning requirements through the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process.
Density, not height, is the issue, Schiess said. Zoning would allow up to 84 units for the site, which would mean roughly 120 cars. "That traffic needs to be managed," he said.
Granite owned the former Mar Lac site at Marion Street and South Boulevard before selling it to Troyanovsky. Schiess is building the Opera Club, a six-story mixed-use development, on the site for Troyanovksy.
Why doesn't Granite hire Schiess to handle the sometimes difficult planning process in Oak Park?
A Granite representative could not be reached Tuesday for comment, but Schiess guessed that the explanation is at times that Granite has found another property to develop, and is selling to free up capital.