The village has renewed its efforts to market and develop a half-acre piece of property at 260 Madison St., which it purchased nine years ago from a Volvo dealership for $1.5 million.
The location previously was home to Shepherd Motors Volvo dealership, which purchased the property in February of 1995 for $350,000.
Oak Park hired real estate broker David King in September 2009 to market the property, which is now being used for storage by the village and the park district. King could not be reached for comment.
On May 6, the village issued a legal notice soliciting proposals for the purpose of entering a "development agreement with a private developer."
The proposal process deadline was May 14. John Hedges, interim executive director of the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation, said in a telephone interview that two proposals have been submitted, but he declined to elaborate on the details.
Hedges described the 12,500-square-foot building as a "good-sized space with a good-sized side yard" that could be developed as "anything from a hardware store to restaurants."
He noted that the building could be torn down, but it was designed by noted architect E.E. Roberts. Hedges said OPEDC staff is reviewing the two proposals, and if neither is feasible, "We would go out and look for some more proposals."
Hedges said development on Madison Street, North Avenue, Harrison Street and Roosevelt Road are priorities for the economic development entity.
"We're just anxious to get things going," Hedges said. "It's just time to find a developer that will go in there or someone who might want to use the building."
He said there is no set price for the property, and the final deal will be a combination of the price and proposed use.
The village could lose more than a million in the deal, having paid more than $1.5 million for the property less than 10 years ago.
According to news coverage from 2004, a memo from the village's director of village development services stated that several businesses had expressed interest in purchasing the property.
"In a fairly short timeframe … the village should be able to sell the property to a business user and recoup the purchase funds," according to the memo, which was quoted in a story published by Wednesday Journal.
The village's business service manager, Loretta Daly, did not return phone calls requesting additional information.
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