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."
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