Madison St. 'bend' dead, but plan inches ahead

Mayor says condos, grocery store likely for north side of street

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

While plans to bend Madison Street to create a larger development site at Oak Park Avenue are likely dead, plans to bring a grocery store and condominiums to the village-owned site are nearing 100 percent, Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb said in an interview.

Abu-Taleb says behind-the-scenes negotiations with Jupiter Realty, which was chosen by the village board as the preferred developer for the site in 2016, and a number of grocery chains have ended the discussion of bending a portion of Madison Street. Both Jewel-Osco and Mariano's had looked at the proposed bend site, Abu-Taleb said in November, but had ultimately passed.

The proposal, first unveiled in 2016, would have placed the anchor tenant grocery store on the south side of Madison Street and bent the roadway between Euclid and Wesley avenues to expand the parcel of land for the development.

Abu-Taleb said the developer and the village are now planning to place a grocery store on the north side of Madison on the village-owned parking lot at the corner of Madison and Oak Park Avenue. The revised proposal would fold in the former Car-X Tire & Auto, 700 Madison St., which the village purchased last September for $1.3 million.

Under the new plan, Abu-Taleb said a two-story retail building would rise on the northeast corner of Madison and Oak Park Avenue. A major grocer would occupy the second floor of the structure, with an additional 25,000 square feet of ground-level retail.

The proposal also would incorporate the next block to the east, between Euclid and Wesley, a portion of the long-vacant Foley-Rice car dealership. Jupiter Realty reportedly has control of that site. It is uncertain what might happen to the façade of the one-time Packard auto showroom which occupies half of that block. It could be demolished or preserved in some way.

The plan calls for construction of four levels of grocery store parking and five floors of condominiums on the site. The 40-plus condos would price out at an average of $450,000. The nine-story structure would reach 115-feet in height. The grocery store and parking structure would be connected by a sky bridge, and Euclid Avenue would be closed off from Madison Street with a landscaped plaza/cul-de-sac.

"Madison Street is in need of development," Abu-Taleb said in an interview with Trustee Bob Tucker, who also has been privy to the negotiations.

Abu-Taleb noted that that stretch of Madison now generates about $130,000 annually in property taxes. The development being negotiated would bring in a projected $50 million in property and sales tax revenue over a 20-year period, he said. It is unclear what financial incentives the developer or primary tenants would seek in final discussions.

"This is all about making no small plans," Tucker said.

The two officials said the village could use money from the Madison Street Tax Increment Finance District to underwrite direct village costs or incentives but the Madison Street TIF expires at the end of 2018. The TIF district could be extended another 12 years, but that would require the approval of the other taxing bodies including the school districts, township and park district.

Abu-Taleb said extending the TIF would be a valuable tool in advancing the project.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

Reader Comments

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Michelle Jensen  

Posted: April 25th, 2018 11:14 AM

Please, no more grocery stores. Get more creative. Stop giving developers unrestricted keys to the kingdom.

Tom MacMillan from Jupiter City  

Posted: April 25th, 2018 10:51 AM

It sounds like Jupiter Realty is running the town now, for their benefit.

Tom Coffman  

Posted: April 25th, 2018 9:34 AM

I second the Aldi resolution. I guess its settled now. I hate driving to North Riverside for groceries and would rather my sales taxes benefit Oak Park. Condo it up. We know its going to happen. Move the fitness place into the Packard building and tear down that stupid dealership. We probably own them at this point, with all the money they squandered from the village when they were "expanding."

Dave Slade from Oak Park  

Posted: April 25th, 2018 9:04 AM

Neal - Two thumbs up.

Maureen Spain  

Posted: April 25th, 2018 7:46 AM

I'm okay with the development generally, but WHY a grocery store? Sugar Beet and Jewel are within blocks. Are there no other options?

Waldhorn Fafner from Oak Park  

Posted: April 24th, 2018 11:08 PM

Nothing has been said about the land cleanup that will be needed with the CarX property. Who will foot the bill for the ground cleanup?

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: April 24th, 2018 10:27 PM

Sell the land to a developer, and let the developer build what the market demands. Then tax the sh*t out of what they build. Case closed.

Christina Sellis Loranz  

Posted: April 24th, 2018 8:23 PM

Do not extend the TIF. All that does is keep raising resudents' property taxes to make up for the money that is kept from going to the schools year after year. Also agree that a grocery store makes no sense with Jewel, Sugarbeet and Carnival all within a couple blocks. Literally 1 to three blocks each. Unless the village president is actually TRYING to put Sugarbeet and Carnival out of business (which I don't believe he is) I don't understand how he would think a grocery store make sense in this location. And I can't imagjne any sort of market study leads to that conclusion either.

Chris Hanson  

Posted: April 24th, 2018 8:14 PM

I sure hope the old Packard dealership's facade is retained. There has to be a way you could keep the facade and build the condos above that building, with a setback from the original car dealer facade to allow for patio/amenity space for the condo owners. This would preserve the facade and allow for the increased density, but not just "stack" on top of the dealer. As for the grocery store, agreed, there are already several that are supporting the village's needs. What about a restaurant/event space such as Punch Bowl Social? Off the beaten path a bit, however OP pulls in from all over. Possibly a Microbrewery? An event venue? Just spitballing here. As for the rest of the space, open to anything, but 5 levels of parking? Really????

Richard Holland  

Posted: April 24th, 2018 7:33 PM

Post script comment: I wonder what Sugar Beet thinks about this new plan? I would love for the WJ to reach out to them for an opinion on this new plan. I certainly seems like Abu-Taleb's business friendliness is focused on the new, it is of little concern the detrimental effect this plan will have on Sugar Beet and to a lesse extent Walgreens as this new store seriously cuts in to their ability to sell groceries. Will Abu-Taleb be hosting meetings on this plan, or as before is this of the OPEDC has already negotiated a deal and they tell us afterwards. I recall space being listed for rent in Loopnet in the buildings on the north side of Madison development prior to Jupiter being announced as the "preferred developer". That was back when they would post the agendas for meetings less than an hour before the meetings were to be held as opposed to in advance is a real way as they are obligated to do. I wish this process felt a whole lot less like Abu-Taleb and the village board are making decisions and endorsing plans regardless of what the neighboring community thinks and doing lip service to input ex-post-facto. As I said before I am all for development in that area, I just wish it felt less like some agenda we aren't privvy to is working itself out whether we like it or not. Makes me want to break out my tin-foil hat, frankly I would somehow feel better if I thought it was somehow crooked, at least in that scenario the motivation is clear, instead we have what looks like leadership by monumentacracy, set in the belief if there are big things constructed during their reign that Will stand as the sun total of accomplishment.

Terry Stanton  

Posted: April 24th, 2018 7:05 PM

New condo construction is inevitable, but please, no more monstrosities like the new ugly hulk at Euclid and Lake. It crowds right to the sidewalk and looms over the space. Contrast it with the condos built across Euclid, which are not so offensively obtrusive and are at least set back a little It's shameful that such a thing was approved so that the builders could squeeze in every possible square foot to sell as luxury housing.

Alice Wellington  

Posted: April 24th, 2018 6:37 PM

Great news about the bend! It would have been a terrible use of space and taxpayers' money. As for the grocery store, I want Aldi. It has good prices, smaller footprint, and would be a welcome addition to that area.

Michael Nevins  

Posted: April 24th, 2018 5:09 PM

I am generally in agreement with the two previous posts, but I'd just like to add: what grocery store would go to OP and Madison when there are already two just down the street? Obviously, the Jewel just east of there is more important than Carnival south of there, but this raises another question: what is the NET effect of a new grocery store if most of their sales comes from stores in the area? Per the article, Mariano's is out and why would Whole Foods wish for this location on top/instead of the RF one? Perhaps these questions have already been internally raised and answered, but.....

Richard Holland  

Posted: April 24th, 2018 4:19 PM

I love how he includes the sales figures in these sweeping baseless comments he makes. Yes someone will make money, not the village, who will be giving millions in assets and incentives to a private company that isn't based in Oak Park. It is highly likely their deal will exempt them from taxes both property and transfer stamps. So I don't see how any of this actually does anything other than add additional burden to the property tax paying public in Oak Park. WJ should do an in depth examination of Anan's many boondoggle projects and see how much benefit is actually beIng realized versus the costs we have realized in infrastructure costs, resources, the strain on resources like schools etc. I think all of his big talk about how beneficial these things are (and justification for odd moves like paying 3 times the appraised value for the Midas lot so they can give it as a gift to a private developer). I am all for improving things but I think the current Oak spark administration lacks logic, transparency (see EG the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation a group who exists solely to skirt open meetings rules and broker these shady deals without public input, look at the history of this Jupiter nonsense the hubris and lack of honesty is shocking). I wish they would come up with a plan that actually would benefit the Village and not simply a few private interests at taxpayer expense. Hopefully Anan's lackluster business-friendliness-regardless-of-consequences leadership causes enough disenchantment that he will get ousted in the next election and we can get leadership in who will stop giving Village assets away at taxpayer expense.

Jenna Brown Russell  

Posted: April 24th, 2018 3:13 PM

It would be wonderful to see the village and privately owned parcels, and Oak Park's Madison Street, developed. Building condos will bring shops and services to the area. It would be a positive improvement for a struggling district. Yet, it would be better governance to let the TIF expire and for the development to proceed on its own merits. The Trustees have not proven to be good real estate speculators, they most assuredly need to exit the development business. If further subsidies are required to extract value from the properties they have added to the unwitting taxpayer's portfolio, it is time to cut, not extend, the losses.

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