By Anna Lothson
It appears one component of the long-delayed Sertus project at Lake and Forest in downtown Oak Park is coming together.
Rough plans for the new parking garage on the site, slated for completion sometime in 2013 with construction anticipated to begin this year, were presented to the village board on Monday and will be brought back Oct. 15 for final approval.
While the garage plans are getting an update, plans for the 20-story commercial development associated with it haven't been publicly presented since August. But plans are due before the board soon, since the building permit deadline is currently Nov. 1. Sertus principal Michael Glazier, the head developer behind the project, has indicated confidence to the board that plans will move forward as promised.
The land for the project is owned by Sertus, but the village owns the aging garage that currently surrounds the property. The new budget plans submitted Monday detail that the total costs of the garage would be about $9.7 million. The capped costs in the redevelopment agreement are $8.5 million but additional expenses were outlined in the update.
For the time being, Oak Park owns the land and no transfer could occur until the project moves forward with financing, which is another piece of the development that hasn't publicly been announced yet. The village will continue to own the public parking spaces after the land transfer.
The village may look into general obligation bonds that allow it to spread out the costs of the project over 20-30 years. There is also a possibility to finance the project with Sertus, but no specifics have been arranged. Overall, no financing options for the development or the garage have been finalized since the design drawings are not complete.
Glazier said financing for the commercial development doesn't begin to yield results until the drawings are completed. The contractor, Power Construction, has been selected for construction as soon as the project can move forward.
The item was up for discussion Monday but did not need formal approval on any specifics. Interim Village Manager Cara Pavlicek explained it was important for the board to see the components of the design development before it moved to the next steps.
Trustees provided several questions about how each level was designed, the logistics of spaces and the complexity of the structure. Sertus provided an overview of rough drawings, garage metrics, budget plans and scheduling. As part of the redevelopment agreement, the board will need to give formal approval of the project by Nov. 1.
In the meantime, village staff is preparing a plan to notify the Lake and Forest garage permit holders where they can park when construction starts, according to Jill Velan, interim parking manager. Holley Court garage has ample space, she said, and is not far away. Staff will send out notifications once a firm date has been set to tear down the garage.
Trustee Bob Tucker asked about the project staying on schedule since it was pushed back two months when the extension was granted, but Glazier said the process has been compressed to hit the checkpoints.
Overall, the three-story garage will have 300 public spots, will be ADA-equipped and have compact stalls for Smart Cars. The proposed surrounding structure, which would contain residential apartments and retail space, also incorporates a public parking garage that would be jointly operated with the village.
In August the board approved a contract with the International Code Council to perform a plan review, not to exceed $36,000, of the drawings submitted as part of the permit process. The portion to review the garage design is expected to cost $6,200. The majority of the costs will be covered by Sertus.
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