Lake and Forest site jumps ahead with developer deal with bank

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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

An enthusiastic Anan Abu-Taleb announced late Friday that developers had inked a contract with PNC Bank to buy the debt tied to a first mortgage on the property at Lake and Forest where a long-planned retail, apartment and parking garage had been stalled.

The contract with the bank was signed this week by Golub and Company and Wood Partners, the two lead developers now heading the project. It is a significant hurdle in the long delayed plan for the high visibility corner in Downtown Oak Park.

Still ahead are negotiations with two remaining lien holders on the project, an architect who had worked on early version of the project and John Vlahos, the previous owner of the site. Jim Prescott, a spokesperson for the developer, was optimistic that obstacle can be resolved. "We are now at a point where this project has gained momentum. It is in everyone's best interest to see this move ahead."

Calling the agreement with PNC "a wonderful thing for the village" President Abu-Taleb said he expected representatives of Golub and Wood Partners, the co-developers, to come before the village board in early May to seek a short extension of the current Redevelopment Agreement. Assuming such an extension is OKd, construction on the 21-story glass and steel project could begin by late summer, according to Prescott.

"This is a turning point for the village. It will bring more momentum for our local development," Abu-Taleb said.

The project dates back to 2007 and has long been stalled by a range of challenges.

In its first incarnation, and under strong suggestion from the village, the initial developer sought financing to build a hotel and condo project. When the national economy tanked that plan was replaced by an apartment concept. But that developer, Sertus Capital Partners, was still unable to arrange financing for the project.

Last fall with a village board project extension running out, Michael Glazier, the principal in the first development group returned to work for Golub and Company, a much larger development company and he brought the stymied Lake and Forest project with him. Since then Golub has reported success in obtaining financing but was in lengthy negotiations with PNC Bank over paying off the first mortgage on the property. That deal came together late this week.

The mixed use building will have 270 apartment units, ground level retail and 588 spaces in a parking garage. The village, which currently operates a poorly maintained parking structure which wraps two sides of the parcel, will partner with the developers to build new parking as part of the project.



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Posted: April 29th, 2014 11:38 AM

Hoping a grocery store of some sort is in that mix. Seeing an empty lot where Certified Land was driven out has been infuriating these past eight years. And the supermarket situation has been exacerbated by the closing of Dominick's.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: April 28th, 2014 5:42 PM

Assume the idea behind all of allowing all these condo developments in DTOP is too create more businesses that are actually market driven by an increasing population density that continues to transform the village into a more urban environment every year....

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: April 28th, 2014 5:18 PM

Good idea - add more retail and living space on a street that isn't supporting the retail they have and add to the congestion on a two lane Lake Street. Guessing I won't be the only one who won't be interested in navigating Lake traffic on a weekend afternoon.

Al Rossell  

Posted: April 28th, 2014 4:46 PM

Lets hope the Village Trustees and planning commission are astute enough to require a completion bond on the project so we dont have another Soho. In that case the bank went broke leaving the developer in a bad spot. Visualize a half completed 270 unit high rise.

Dawn from Oak Park IL  

Posted: April 28th, 2014 3:38 PM

This is going to be a nightmare for the neighborhood. Lake Street is already a traffic jam much of the day - the LAST thing we need is more apartments/condos with the vehicles that come with them. I can't help but wonder how this will negatively affect parking at the two churches nearby, as well as the residents of the 949 Lake Street condo building which is directly across the street from the proposed project.

Daniel meyer from Oak Park  

Posted: April 28th, 2014 2:06 PM

270 X 2 = 540. 588 - 540 = 48 public parking spaces, for visitors to the building. Not enough parking. Not enough street, not enough sewer services.

Suzette from Oak Park Illinois  

Posted: April 28th, 2014 8:13 AM

Agree-should be hotel to have a piece of that market. Most visitors stay in the city as well as conference attendees. We miss that $$$$ opportunity.


Posted: April 27th, 2014 8:46 AM

Still shoulda been a hotel.

Mary Unbehauen Rodrigo from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 26th, 2014 12:08 AM

Good news, I think!

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