We've long been fans of the hotel, condo and retail project planned for Lake and Forest. We like the mix, the height, the public-private collaboration on parking. But we are also fans of reality.
So the news we broke last week that the developer, Sertus Capital Partners, will ask the village to open discussions of some alternative mix of uses at the prime corner, seems merely realistic. This project neatly straddles the real estate bubble of the past five years. The parcel was purchased at the absolute height of property values. And now a project must be made workable in the nadir of a withered economy and a housing collapse.
That's the reality. No one is to blame. Pointing fingers at either or both the developer or the village is just silly.
So start talking. Reassess what is most important to all parties at that intersection. For the village, new parking and higher property and sales taxes. For the developer, a path to being made whole or nearly so. All of this ought to be considered — and how about we do this out in the open — in light of the overall plan for Downtown Oak Park.
The economy will come back. This corner is a beauty. The Oak Park market is worth investment. Let's make a new plan.