Kleronomos buildings could be up for sale by summer

Village attorney says six foreclosure properties being actively marketed

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Six buildings in various states of disrepair in the Harrison Street Arts District are making their way through foreclosure and being actively marketed to prospective tenants.

The buildings, owned by Chris Kleronomos, have been appointed to a receiver and "there is activity afoot" in the marketing of the properties, Village Attorney Paul Stephanides said at a village board meeting Tuesday. 

Several of the buildings have been sitting vacant for decades, and in 2011 the façade of one of the properties, 201 Harrison St., collapsed onto the sidewalk.

Stephanides said it could take 3-6 months before the buildings — which run between 146 and 219 Harrison and 900 to 910 S. Taylor Ave. — go through the foreclosure process.  

Laura Maychruk, owner of Buzz Café and head of the Oak Park Arts District, called on trustees and the village and its business development entity, Oak Park Economic Development Corp., to do what it can to speed the process and get viable businesses into the area.

In October, the village's legal department produced a report on the six properties in foreclosure, noting that North Community Bank is the receiver. But calls to North Community Bank receiver Dan Harrington have not been returned. 

The memo noted that in October, "the bank was in negotiations with a potential buyer of the note [for the properties], but following due diligence, the proposed buyer has not moved to purchase these properties."

"It is still possible that this or another group of investors may seek to buy the note from the bank and negotiate the transfer of these properties with Kleronomos," the memo states. "Absent a transaction, the properties will proceed through the foreclosure process. The bank's attorney predicts that the foreclosure cases will be complete in late summer 2014, at which time Kleronomos will lose title to these properties."

It also states that the receiver could enter into leases for the properties but would have to be confirmed by the judge hearing the foreclosure case.

"Any leases will survive the foreclosure such that the next property owner will be bound by the terms of the lease," the memo states.

Stephanides told trustees that the buildings could either be sold or leased and that both options are being explored. 

Trustee Adam Salzman asked whether the village had any "legal leverage" to speed the process or "put additional pressure on the property owner."

Stephanides said the legal department has held meetings with Harrington to make him aware of code violations and how it would affect the marketing of the property.

Village Manager Cara Pavlicek said the village already has cited Kleronomos with various building code violations, but there is only so much the village can do through its vacant-building ordinance.

"We certainly haven't withheld enforcement actions with code violations," she said, the village already has cited Kleronomos for not shoveling snow from sidewalks in front of the buildings.

Pavlicek said the vacant-building ordinance, which sets standards for upkeep of empty buildings, needs to be strengthened.

"Some communities have greater teeth in vacant-building ordinances than we have, and we at least want to tee up the policy considerations for the board to say what level of aggressiveness are you comfortable with in that area," she said.

Salzman said updating the ordinance should be put "on the front burner."

"Since 2011, there has been a fair amount of attention given and paid to the arts district, and I don't think there's anybody on the board who would say they are not 100 percent supportive of the arts district," Salzman said. "I think the quagmire is these vacant properties, and if we had some more tools at our disposal to nudge them out of there, that would be tremendously helpful." 

In addition to the building on South Taylor, the Kleronomos properties in foreclosure on Harrison are at 146-148, 200-210, 201-211, 213-215 and 217-219.

Contact: tim@oakpark.com

Reader Comments

39 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 24th, 2014 3:41 PM

D - Excellent Point

D from Oak park  

Posted: August 24th, 2014 2:06 PM

l have wondered for years why it isn't developed; not with artist studios, but with services. It's because we are not a neighborhood. I spend a lot of time in a Brooklyn neighborhood. Within two blocks are groceries, fresh veg, wine/liquor, hardware, hair, nails, car rental, taxi, bicycle shop, cleaning, home repair, and restaurants (10). All around are blocks of homes and apartments. Until we stop thinking like a suburb, we'll never aspire to become a neighborhood.

OP Transplant  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 5:38 PM

Uncommon - We've had different experiences. I've driven to downtown OP planning to eat at a certain restaurant, driven around looking for a space, and then said, "To hell with it," and driven to Forest Park many times. We say things like, "We'll eat at X if we can find parking," frequently. I know a lot of people who report similar experiences. Very few people I know are happy with the convenience of parking in Oak Park. I don't mind walking a couple of blocks in nice weather, but now?

yep  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 4:39 PM

M: I got over myself as soon as Transplant started dealing with your nuttiness instead of me. Oak Park parking is horrible and just because it's convenient for you to walk doesn't mean it's convenient for someone else. Don't even think you got me pegged on size, BMI, or fitness either...because trust me you don't.

Yes  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 4:15 PM

And the buildings have been tied up for how long exactly...? I honestly believe if the city can 'steer' Noon Whistle in the Arts District, more commerce will come.

Really?  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 4:12 PM

"The reason Harrison is going to thrive is its a transit oriented zone. The CTA and bus system are very close." The CTA and bus system have been there a long time. It's not exactly thriving yet.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 3:42 PM

OPT, I don't disagree with your premise that people like to drive. Heck, I drive to downtown OP probably 99% of the time. Only really walk/bike on beautiful days. However, I disagree that parking is a pain. I've just never experienced this lack of parking people keep complaining about. I park in the garage and walk to where ever I'm going on Lake Street. Same down on Harrison. Seems much ado about nothing imho that you have to walk at best a block sometimes.

Route 64  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 3:36 PM

North Ave can offer an array of items to be purchased including: Beef Samich, matzo ball soup, tuxedo rental, ice cream, batteries, bicycles, banking, corn-beef, Pizza, oil change, gasoline, insurance, groceries, Subs, fried chicken, donuts, chinese, thai, BBQ, mattresses, and much more that im leaving out......

M  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 3:34 PM

You're correct. But, perhaps that means that isn't the type of business that should open up there. By your logic (albeit an extreme case), if a Costco wanted to open on Harrison, we should clear out the houses and make a large parking lot to accommodate. We should be 'grateful' of a business owner to open. A business owner takes a neighborhood profile into account. The reason Harrison is going to thrive is its a transit oriented zone. The CTA and bus system are very close. That's why they open.

OP Transplant  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 3:28 PM

M - People do shop and dine on North Ave. And, your choosing to walk and bike everywhere is great, but you're not a business owner. Business owners can't insist that their customers walk and bike everywhere. That's why North Ave., while unsightly, has a lot of commercial traffic, while Harrison can't attract businesses. What works for you as a consumer doesn't necessarily work for businesses. That most people travel by car is reality. No one, not even you, walks miles at night to dinner.

M  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 3:19 PM

The obvious point is, the city shouldn't tear down a small 'lite commercial' zone to make way for parking lots. If Harrison looked even half as bad as North Ave does with all it's strip malls, I can guarantee people would stop buying down there. For the record, I do bike and walk almost everywhere, take public transit into the city for work. My car barely leaves the garage. It's there for emergencies and home depot runs.

OP Transplant  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 3:12 PM

M - They're not my pawn shops. My point was that to suggest people walk from one end of OP to the other is to suggest that they walk several miles, which is not how people shop or go out to eat, especially in bad weather or at night. You don't do it either, but you're too hung up on being right to admit the obvious.

M  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 3:11 PM

Also, look at your precious parking at Harlem and North. Those are just fantastic businesses in that strip mall, aren't they? Cash 4 Gold, mattresses? Same can be said for Harlem and Harrison. Parking does not equate to a quality business. Also, we chose to buy where we did because we could walk to most places within 2 miles without a problem. Our town is only 3 miles 'tall' and less than 2 miles wide. 'Uncommon' doesn't have to be all that 'fit' to make it around.

M  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 3:05 PM

Get some businesses that are actually worthwhile up on North Ave and then we'll talk. You can keep your pawn shops.

3 Minutes  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 3:00 PM

Parking in DTOP is NOT ideal. Our planners should be aware that all the "temp" parking that the Colt building afforded us is in HIGH DEMAND. We should have mirrored RF and put all the parking in front of all the shops.....

Green Engine  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 2:57 PM

Walkable town? Are you kidding me. Maybe if you live in 100 Forest Place and its proximity to DTOP. Good luck trying to walk to Roosevelt or North Ave Districts. Cars are here to stay people. If you expect people from one side of town to cater to all businesses, then expect there to be cars involved. Do people realize that there are 4 Dunkin Donuts in and around OP because its a local thing. Madison, North Ave and Harlem and S Blvd. and Roosevelt Rd. There you go. Parking is KEY

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 2:54 PM

OPT, I've never had an issue parking in downtown or anywhere else in the village for that matter. It doesn't bother me that I can't park right in front of the door of a business. This is a semi-urban environment so I don't expect easy parking. I moved here because we generally aren't a village of strip malls. If I wanted that, I would have moved to one of the far out burbs. I get people want convenience, but they also need a dose of reality too.

OP Transplant  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 2:44 PM

Uncommon - You can act as disapproving of other people as you want, but it's not an attitude that makes our community attractive to business owners and shoppers. Like it or not, convenience is always part of the draw. So, you feel superior about your level of fitness, while businesses locate elsewhere. How is that a win for the community?

OP Transplant  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 2:35 PM

M - I live near North Ave, and there's snow on the ground. I should walk or bike? I'm guessing you're not a business owner. How often do you walk or bike to North Ave. to shop or go out to dinner?

Bring back the shuttle  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 1:22 PM

What would be helpful to business is to bring back the Oak Park shuttle or a circulator. Especially in the winter when it's more difficult to walk/bike. Run a trolley every 15 minutes.

Rick Bayless  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 1:13 PM

This would be a great place for an Arby's. Their roast beef is better than anything I've ever made!

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 1:10 PM

I've never understood the parking complaints of Oak Parkers. Its relatively cheap and god forbid you have to walk a block to your destination. Oh, the travesty. And we wonder why we are a nation of fat azzes?

M  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 12:59 PM

Heaven forbid you walk/bike. I forgot how MASSIVE our town is....sheesh

OP Transplant  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 12:57 PM

M - So you limit the viability of area businesses and make Harrison less attractive to prospective business owners. That's the parking trade-off. It doesn't really affect me, except where property taxes are concerned. I rarely drive down there anyway, because...wait for it...it's hard to park.

M from Oak Park  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 12:27 PM

I completely agree with what you're saying. However, I don't agree that parking is a 'requirement' for a successful business here. Also, tearing down buildings [see colt building] for the purpose of a parking lot is very short sighted. The problem is people want the 'small shops' but feel they're entitled to a large open parking spots with PLENTY of open parking spaces. Which is ridiculous is a neighborhood built with 100 year old homes.

OP Transplant  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 12:14 PM

M - I'm not sure it's up to you to decide which businesses are "supposed to be neighborhood shops." The business owners might actually like customers from outside of the neighborhood. In real life, this requires a place for them to leave their cars. Parking is a make-or-break concern for local business owners. There's an attitude of "if you don't like it, take your business somewhere else" that's very damaging to the community, because so many people DO take their business somewhere else.

M from Oak Park  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 11:48 AM

Yep. Get over yourself. We should change an entire neighborhood to allow parking for those coming in from Oak Brook... If you haven't noticed, we are a neighborhood. The arts district is in a 'residential neighborhood'. These are supposed to be neighborhood shops. As far as the 'nanny state', I wasn't stating that we should 'never allow cars near a pub'. I'm just stating it is a benefit. Why don't we just cap the Ike and cover it with parking spaces. Would that make you happy?

yep  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 11:08 AM

M: what a nanny state concern. Limit parking because a drunk MIGHT drive off in a car? What if the drunk rode the CTA there and stumbles towards Austin and into the street causing a traffic crash there. The possible risks are limitless and your safety insn't improved by little parking. Also you and Dee seem to not understand that you want other shoppers from outside the neighborhood to patronize your stores..no telling how much revenue OP loses just because people hate the parking in town.

James  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 7:46 AM

Yes you're an urban town except when it comes to parking, then everyone wants to pretend they live in Romeoville.

John H from Oak Park  

Posted: March 5th, 2014 4:56 PM

A small specialist grocery store would be PERFECT. Not an all night convenience store, but something like a mini-WholeFoods would get my vote!

M from Oak Park  

Posted: March 5th, 2014 1:07 PM

I have to agree with Dee. We are an urban town. It seems that every project in Oak Park has people complaining about 'parking'. I know that I personally bought a house here specifically not to have to drive. We have the ability to walk everywhere, use public transit, or bike. I would go so far as to say that I would not want parking available. The last thing we need is someone 'over-indulging' and driving home, causing an accident, and ruin future opportunities for other breweries in town.

Dee from OP  

Posted: March 5th, 2014 11:20 AM

Elle, some solutions inc.: walking, riding a bike (more bike racks & maybe even free VOP bikes to use throughout the village), bring back the OP Shuttle (wh/ could be reasonable if the AD actually became a viable dist.), carpool, park on side streets and pretend ur in Chicago and don't want to pay the parking....Parking should not hinder moving forward.

Bill from Oak Park  

Posted: March 5th, 2014 10:36 AM

WJ. More info please. Who foreclosed? Did you look at the public records. Foreclosure process can take a long time depending on liens and state of the owner's finances.

Elle from Oak park  

Posted: March 5th, 2014 10:20 AM

As much as it would terrific to have the brewery in the Arts District, parking remains an obstacle. A big one. Anyone have any ideas how to overcome that?

Kate from Oak Park  

Posted: March 5th, 2014 9:34 AM

Perfect location for a brewery! Exactly the type of development the Arts District needs!

Elephant's Memory from Oak Park  

Posted: March 5th, 2014 9:12 AM

Given Mr K's history, this is probably just another case of giving everyone false hope.

Leonard Grossman from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: March 5th, 2014 8:42 AM

About time.

Bill D  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 7:17 PM

It's about time. I'm happy for Laura M. and all the other good people who've invested their money, time and effort into the area all these years.

Mark from Oak Park  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 6:02 PM

Are any of these properties big enough for a brewery and tasting room?

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