By Anna Lothson
Whiteco, the 14-story, 204-unit luxury apartment building, officially known as Oak Park Apartments, has had its share of controversy.
But beyond the debates about its design, size, funding, and development, the adjacent parking structure, the Holly Court garage, caused a slew of its own problems for the village and the developer.
After the village expanded the garage in 2009, officials noticed there were cracks in the concrete. Oak Park paid for the expansion but it was determined that Whiteco was responsible for the repairs and consequent costs due to construction problems.
Now that the property is on the market, however, the question has arisen: Whose responsibility is it if the property is sold?
Rob Cole, Oak Park's assistant village manager, said the garage repairs aren't complete but confirmed that conversations with Whiteco representatives have provided verbal agreements that the company would finish the necessary repairs.
Cole said the fact that the property is on the market doesn't change the urgency of the repairs, and the village is in ongoing conversations with Whiteco about the progress.
"We want it to be fixed and fixed right," he said. From a legal perspective, he added, the village wants the project to be up to code no matter who owns the property.
The redevelopment agreement between Whiteco and the village also stipulates that the units remain rental property for 10 years following its opening, which Cole said is a factor the new owner can't change.
"They are bound to the agreement as it exists," he said. "They can't get rid of any portions."
Cole said any issues moving forward will be part of larger conversations between the village, Whiteco and any potential new property owner.
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