Lake & Forest project could break ground

Ownership negotiations only remaining hurdle

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

After years in the planning, riddled with missed deadlines, the development of a 21-story mixed-use building and redevelopment of an adjacent parking garage looks imminent.

International real estate development firm Golub & Co. and Wood Partners, a housing development firm, met the village board's Feb. 28 deadline to show that it has been working with three investment firms since November to finance the multimillion-dollar project.

But ownership of the building, which went into foreclosure when the property was owned by Sertus Capital Partners, has yet to switch from PNC Bank, which holds the note.

Golub must purchase the note from PNC, and both the village board and Michael Glazier, who previously served as principal for Sertus, and is now with Golub, anticipate that negotiations are close to being finalized.

Reached by phone, Glazier would give few details, but noted, "It's all coming together. It's not done until it's done. It's sensitive because of institutional investors who are party to the deal," he said.

The mixed-use building would have 270 apartment units, ground-level retail and an adjacent garage with 588 parking spaces.

Village President Anan Abu-Taleb did not respond to a request to discuss the project.

John Hedges, former board member and executive director of the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation, said his group has little to do with the project since a redevelopment agreement has already been established with the village.

He added, however, that OPEDC is excited about the negotiations nearing a close.

"If you can get 300 residents in that building, there are more people who are going to eat in the restaurants and add to the assessed value of the downtown area because it makes the property in the downtown area more valuable," he said. "It's just a good economic engine for that whole area, plus the valuation of the property itself."

Trustee Adam Salzman said in a telephone interview that he is hopeful the sale of the property will go through as planned, adding that he is optimistic developers will break ground on the project before the end of the year.

Salzman recounted the numerous deadlines missed by Sertus over the years and how the project in the heart of downtown Oak Park limped along with village hall left wondering if a deal would ever be struck.

"From our perspective, we had this high-value parcel that we didn't own — Sertus owned it — but it's certainly a high-value parcel sitting there without any sort of revenue generated or productive use taking place."

As the project was being negotiated over the last several years, he said, the village had to make incremental repairs to the parking garage to the north of the proposed project.

"Part of the deal was Sertus was going to build a new parking garage," Salzman said. "It was really intended to be a public-private partnership.

"There's no way to sugarcoat it; it's been a long haul," he said of the project that was first proposed in 2007 and once included a hotel rather than mixed-use rental space. "The local economy has been through a significant amount of stress [from the financial crash of the late 2000s] but it's starting to rebound."


Reader Comments

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John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 18th, 2014 1:51 PM

Lots of Talk. No Cement! Come to think about it, when was the last time that cement was used in Downtown Oak Park?


Posted: August 18th, 2014 11:29 AM

It is obvious that Glazier routinely overestimates his business acumen in this development for the property is still in foreclosure. And there are liens on the property which still need to be settled. When will the WJ and the Village Board realize that Glazier, and by extension Golub are bad business partners? The WJ and the entire board act as lemmings with the development believing everything that Glazier and Golub have to say. It is time OP revoked the variances for this project.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 9:06 AM

The Village Manager only reported the village received a letter from Golub & Co. acknowledging their commitment re. equity financing. There was no mention of the foreclosure issue with PNC Bank, nor of the required debt financing by Feb. 28 (Golub previously stated the equity/debt ratio as 65/35). The equity financing lender was not identified, nor was there proof of equity financing, as it was only a letter from Golub. Also, the village's agreement is with Lake Street Investors, not Golub.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 9:05 AM

The entire Village Manager's report only took 69 seconds, hardly a reason not to provide a status report at previous village board meetings that occurred after the Feb. 28 deadline. The developer, Lake Street Investors was not mentioned once. Amazingly, given the lack of information provided on a significant issue that has occupied the board's time for the past several years, there was absolutely no discussion by the board after the report was provided.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 11:48 PM

Click on the IX item on the agenda, Starting at 31:26, is where the Village Manager give the Lake & Forest update...

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 11:47 PM

"The Golub and Company did provide to the Village on February 28th, a letter acknowledging...that they do have a commitment for the joint venture equity investment for the private portion of the project. They also notified us...that they have a term sheet from...that will meet senior construction loan requirements, and that will provide the necessary funding during construction of the Village's portion of the project, the parking we think these are very very positive steps..."

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 10:59 PM

Bridgett - Buy this story and I will give you a great discount on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Long Time Oak Parker from Oak Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 9:35 PM

Bridgette - haven't watched the meeting yet. Could you expand on the VIllage Manager's update? They are "on time with everything." On time with missing every deadline?

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 8:26 PM

According the to Village Manager's report, everything is on schedule. The Village Manager mentioned that an update wasn't given earlier because of so many other things that have filled the agendas.

Out Of Time  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 12:57 PM

Agree with JBM post. The shame here belongs on the board for keeping villagers completely in the dark on this. If developers have not been able to get a commitment from a lender by now, there is something significant holding this up that is not being disclosed. The public will likely never know because the village will hide behind confidentiality clauses contained in the agreement.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 11:53 AM

The delay of the Sertus financing is not a surprise. The surprise is the board not keeping the public advised of progress as it promised in October. The strong deadline set by the board was exactly what was needed to let developers know that the days of Oak Park being a "patsy" for financiers was over. February 28 went by with total silence from the board. It was another win for the developers and a big trust loss for the board.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 9:33 AM

Yes, thank you Bridgett for the heads up on tonight's status report. The fact that this is part of the Village Manager's Report, and not on the regular agenda with the developer present, does not portend well, but we will see. In addition to the proof of financing by Feb. 28, April 30 is the deadline for closing and May 15 to begin construction.

Long Time Oak Parker from Oak Park  

Posted: April 6th, 2014 7:57 PM

Bridgett - thanks for the heads up, I will be looking for that update.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 6th, 2014 7:43 PM

A status report regarding Lake & Forest will be given by the Village Manager at tomorrow's Village Board meeting.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: April 6th, 2014 12:44 PM

As per the Oct. 21, 2013 board meeting, the board approved an extension to the developer based on providing evidence of obtained equity and debt financing by Feb. 28. It is now well into April. The board's expressed purpose of the Feb. 28 deadline was to achieve certainty. The key phrase is 'evidence of obtained financing', as opposed to speculation, as previously provided extensions have been based on Mr. Glazier's claims of imminent financing.


Posted: April 4th, 2014 9:54 AM

The Hotel would have been a nice addition.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: April 4th, 2014 1:12 AM

I didn't write that post, GED. My surname is Dwyer, not Dywer. Seems some clown feels the need to play around rather than argue his point. The WJ should check out the ISP. My point with dystOPia was that the 'source' for the use of 'imminent' was in fact Glazier. Inklebarger said Glazier noted, 'It's all coming together. It's not done until it's done. It's sensitive because of institutional investors who are party to the deal." The nitpicking of terms used by WJ reporters has grown tiresome.


Posted: April 3rd, 2014 9:55 PM

And they all lived happily ever after

GED from Oak Park  

Posted: April 3rd, 2014 9:28 PM

Cont.. Apartments are way easier to get financed than condos. We still could get multiple quality proposals . Cut bait with these hacks

GED from Oak Park  

Posted: April 3rd, 2014 9:25 PM

Bill -Sertus was never going to build a 20 story hotel. The village of OP asked Sertus to include a hotel in there 20 story condo development. The village asked for condos and a hotel, that's hard to get financed. Of course Sertus said they would try. But they couldn't get it done.I wish the Village would have some guts and stop this path. If the Village of OP ok'd a large apartment development from the beginning they would have received multiple quality applicants.

Bill Dywer Oak Park  

Posted: April 3rd, 2014 7:54 PM

Why does the writer of the article make this seem "imminent"?? What on earth would lead anyone to believe anything related to this site is imminent? This is the same rhetoric we've been hearing since Sertus had that whopper of an idea to build a 20 story hotel here. Blah, blah, blah. More the same. This writer needs to go back and get his GED.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: April 3rd, 2014 6:15 PM

@BillDwyer: your referenced paragraph simply states that Mr. Glazier was "reached by phone" and would give "few details". Who is the source for the statements the projects "looks imminent" (1st paragraph) and that the development firm has "met the village board's Feb. 28 deadline" (2nd paragraph). Are these statements provided as views of the writer or Mr. Glazier? "Working with three investment firms" by the deadline is not the same as having obtained financing by the deadline, as required.

Gimme Shelter  

Posted: April 2nd, 2014 10:19 PM

Looks like PNC bank that holds the defaulted loan here is not willing to take the price haircut that Golub et alt. needs to make this deal pencil. Meanwhile the garage here keeps dropping concrete chunks. Not really a great asset for the village's tourism business. Maybe we should make this whole corner a Historic District, as we'll all be talking about this deal for years to come.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: April 2nd, 2014 3:12 PM

The fifth paragraph in story answers your question, dystOPia.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: April 2nd, 2014 2:48 PM

At the Oct. 21, 2013 board meeting, the village board agreed that the developers for the Lake / Forest redevelopment site would be required to obtain equity financing by January 15, 2014, and obtain debt financing by February 28, 2014. This article states that the developers met the village board's Feb. 28 deadline, but there has been no public meeting to discuss this project, nor has the village board confirmed compliance with deadline. What then, is the source for this article's statement?

More The Same  

Posted: April 2nd, 2014 9:14 AM

Wake up Anan. Comedy hour was over weeks ago. These guys can't get a financing comitment. Period. They are looking for non-recourse money, and they can't find it. Mark my words: Golub will be coming to the village soon to request that the village go partially recourse on whatever debt Golub is able to secure. Write this down.

D. Trump Jr  

Posted: April 1st, 2014 10:16 PM

Awesome April fools gag story!

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