Taxman buys Oak Leaves office building

? 'Well-situated and well-leased,' Taxman content to rent it.

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By DREW CARTER

Taxman Corp. finalized the purchase of the Oak Leaves building, 1136-1142 Lake St., last week from Marc Realty, saying it planned to operate the building as an investment property rather than redevelop it.

"We think it was a well-situated piece of property and it was well-leased," said Taxman President Tim Hague. "We look forward to owning and operating that building."

Hague would not disclose figures for the sale price or revenue generated by leases in the building.

Marc Realty sold 1100 Lake St. to Shaker Property Management for $9.4 million in June 2004, and owns no other Oak Park properties after the Oak Leaves sale, according to listings on the company's website.

The Oak Leaves building offers approximately 65,000 square feet of retail and office space over five floors and a basement. Its roughly two dozen tenants include Penzey's Spices and Pioneer Press newspapers.

Hague said that, but for the basement area of the building, all available space is rented on terms of 3- to 10-year leases. Hague does not expect the building will see much turnover in tenants.

The Oak Leaves building purchase adds another downtown Oak Park building to the Taxman portfolio, which includes the Shops of Downtown Oak Park (Gap, Old Navy buildings), a professional office building on Westgate and the Colt building which faces both Lake Street and Westgate Avenue. Taxman has a development agreement with the Village of Oak Park on the Colt building.

On the rumor that Taxman was purchasing the Oak Leaves building to have a place to move tenants from the Colt building, Hague said it "was not our primary motivation," and pointed to the low availability in the Oak Leaves building for new tenants.

The village has put on hold deciding a fate for the Colt building. An agreement between Taxman and the village requires the village to either accept a development proposal from Taxman, or purchase the building for $5 million. Deferring that decision until the Crandall Arambula study of Downtown Oak Park is completed is fine with Hague.

"Until [the master plan and TIF extension] are concluded, I don't know if there's a lot of motivation from the village to move forward," Hague said. "The input into the Crandall Arambula plan was a necessary step prior [moving ahead with] more large-scale development in Downtown Oak Park."

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