Blueprints for Oak Park's high-rise apartments at Lake and Forest underway

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

A report Monday about the parking structure underneath Oak Park's soon-to-be-tallest building revealed the plan for the 20-story high-rise at the corner of Forest and Lake in downtown Oak Park still has legs.

The design development for the building, encompassing rental units and retail space at the bottom, is expected to be completed by the end of July, according to Gene Litterski, a representative of Project Management Advisors, the group hired by the village to oversee construction of the parking garage portion of the project.

A portion of the land for the project is owned by Chicago-based Sertus Capital Partners. The village owns the L-shaped remainder of the parcel. Currently on that land is an aging village-owned parking garage.

A team of representatives from Project Management Consultants presented an updated report to the village board Monday night detailing progress on the three-story, 300-space parking garage that will be partially owned by the village. The parking garage should be finished within one year with construction starting before 2012 closes. The high-rise should be completed by the end of summer 2014.

"Our thinking right now is that this is the appropriate timeframe," Litterski said. "From our conversations with Sertus it seems that things are going along in that fashion to maintain that schedule."

The teams have been meeting weekly to ensure progress is being made, and village management remains in contact with Project Management Advisors as it relates to the garage.

Meetings have also been held with the village's parking department about the logistics of the management for the garage. It is the recommendation of Project Management Advisors to have the entire garage – both the public parking portion and the spaces reserved for apartment tenants -- managed by one team to provide smoother operation. Funds collected will be distributed based on who owns each part of the garage.

The garage itself is said to fit within the scope of Oak Park's greater downtown master plan, will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and could incorporate environmentally friendly features, such as spots for Zipcars and bikes, according to village reports.

The Lake and Forest development first received approval in January, but over several years has been at the center of many lengthy board discussions due to its sheer size and density. The project is expected to bring in $1.3 million each year in tax revenue, hundreds of construction jobs and the new garage. The initial plan in 2010 was for a hotel, condos and a garage, but Sertus scrapped that plan for the rental apartments with retail space.

The current 340-space garage was built in the 1970s and is reaching the end of its life. As previously reported by Wednesday Journal, the current structure would cost $1.3 million to add another seven years of life to the garage. Previous reports also said Sertus is investing around $81 million to the project.

During the next 60 days Project Management Advisors will be reviewing financing options and review the plans with village staff. The project is set to come back to the village board for design approval.

Email: Twitter: @AnnaLothson

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Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: August 6th, 2012 9:07 AM

At tonight's board meeting (Aug. 6), Sertus is requesting a 60-day extension for the building permit submittal deadline of Sept, 1, due to additional structural design for the site's high water table. At this time, Sertus has not secured project financing, and does not expect to do so until the 4th quarter of 2012. This board meeting would be a good time for the village board to ask Sertus to elaborate on the status of project financing, as it determines project viability.

Part of the Problem from OP  

Posted: July 27th, 2012 6:34 AM

@OP Rez: "Whatever the cost, it was worth every penny." Spoken like someone spending someone else's money. And, there we have the basic problem....


Posted: July 26th, 2012 10:50 PM

The more you have...the more you can do. Money cant buy you love.......BUT it can buy you Granite and Brick Pavers.


Posted: July 26th, 2012 3:42 PM

@OP Rez. Alright, per your "logic" - VOP/Pope should emulate this "prettiness" on Lake St from Harlem to just west of OP Ave. Oh, wait, they tried - and we don't have the money. But, again with YOUR "logic" - they should do it any way. OP has Home Rule and can simply triple prop taxes to pay for Pope's Utopian fantasy! After that project is done, how about the rest of OP Bus Districts? Ah, Europe, OP wishes to join you in your death spiral of bankruptcy! But, hey, OP Rez/Pope will be ecstatic!!!

OP Rez  

Posted: July 26th, 2012 1:19 PM

The increase in cost to pave Marion and have bueatiful sidewalks was what? Whatever the cost, IT WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY. Maybe you wont agree. Fine. Thats your choice. Anyone who walks down that street on any given summer night can tell you that it is SOOOO MUCH better than just another asphalt street with cement sidewalks. There is a reason people like Europe so much. People tend to gravitate to good design. :-)

A sign of the stupidity from Oak Park  

Posted: July 26th, 2012 5:49 AM

My high taxes are to keep the cake frosted, but not to keep the cake from rotting underneath. We have a lovely downtown shopping area with too few stores that actually have what I need (but dozens of bakeries, hair/nail salons, italian restaurants, etc.) that I can't enjoy because I'm either watering my parkway, cleaning out my flooded basement, or working my ass off to pay for the taxes. It's a great town, but who can live here? This failed project is just a sign of the stupidity.


Posted: July 26th, 2012 12:11 AM

@OP Rez. As you know, VOP spent far more than was necessary to repave sidewalks, etc. We have blue things, granite things, and heated things, etc. - all expenses, to put it mildly, which were much more than required. How do we measure the benefit of this increased cost? ROI!!! Unfortunately, I don't know of ANY Board in OP that understands this metric and so we get today's problem - too many problems and not enough money for them. Streets, sewers and alleys continue to crumble. Sad.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 25th, 2012 11:05 PM

OP Rez, take the number of years the new sewers would last and multiply that by the amount people spend on cleaning their basements from flooding. That is your return on investment savings.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 25th, 2012 11:02 PM

Unfortunately, you can't blame Pope and Raymond, they didn't know what it was going to do.

OP Rez  

Posted: July 25th, 2012 10:54 PM

ROI. Whats the ROI on replacing 100 year sewers? Whats the ROI on repaving sidewalks? Whats the ROI on Repaving streets? Whats the ROI for replacing water mains? The ROI for Marion is clear. More people enjoying themselves and spending money they could spend someplace else. Simple.


Posted: July 25th, 2012 5:16 PM

@OP Rez. "Clearly there are more dinners (sic) at all food locations on Marion...." How do you know this? Further, I again insert the concept of ROI. For instance, if VOP spent $4M more for the "pretty streets" than "regular streets" and it could somehow be determined that this led to $1,000 per day in extra sales (btw, it can't), this would be $365K per yr. VOP gets 2% of this in sales tax - and so this generates only $7,300 in new sales tax. $3.65M nets $73K. Thus, ROI doesn't pay debt.

OP Rez  

Posted: July 25th, 2012 4:44 PM

Same number of what? Clearly there are more dinners at all food locations on Marion St. More dinners means more tax revenue which means a better local economy. I would like to thank WHOEVER is responsible, and so would all the shops that benefit from a nice pleasant walkable area. Keep it up.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: July 24th, 2012 10:15 PM

Man I miss Silly's vacation. It was the best time all year 'round these parts.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 24th, 2012 9:59 PM

OP Rez, it's the same amount of people on Marion street. It's the same problem when taking a stroll along Poor Phil's. You have to pay close attention when you are going around their sidewalk property that you don't end up in the street making contact with a passing vehicle. It actually seems less buyers for the Cheese emporium but they do have a nice sidewalk with a permanent canopy. That is why you now have bricks on Marion Street, just for two businesses. All the credit goes to Pope.

OP Rez  

Posted: July 24th, 2012 9:33 PM

Looking forward to this development and the Interfaith project. Moving Oak Park in the Wright direction. Take a stroll down Marion any given summer night.......I know, it was a waste of money to put pavers in and to tear up the mall. Clearly the people(shoppers and consumers) have spoken.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 24th, 2012 2:21 PM

@JBM, Raymond, you can't use your republican tactics on an Oak Park forum and expect people to really believe your negativity towards John Butch Murtagh. People know that John does his research and if he makes a mistake, he will apologize for it. You and your cronies are like cat's who crap on the floor and move away from it quickly as if you think everyone thinks it was someone else who crapped.


Posted: July 24th, 2012 1:45 PM

You clearly have misspoken in this forum, multiple times. You have apologized for your wrong information. Whether your intent was to lie, I am not sure. Spewing falsehoods to me is the same. Now if you cant remember your apologies, then I think its more of a memory issue which does tend to weaken in the golden years.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 24th, 2012 11:25 AM

Enuf is Enuf, financing will not be secured by Sertus. Sertus can not get any investors. Pope and Raymond will build a garage if they can find the money.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: July 24th, 2012 11:17 AM

@JBMurtagh (1) ... the village has already committed to building the public parking garage, as per the terms of the amended Redevelopment Agreement (RDA) they approved on Feb. 3, 2012. Previously, Sertus repeatedly stated there is interest from lending institutions for project financing, but they first needed a village approved RDA for financial commitments. Since Feb. 3, there has been no public disclosure on the status of financing by Sertus or the village.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: July 24th, 2012 11:17 AM

@JBMurtagh (2) ... despite the importance of the status of Sertus project financing concerning project viability, the village remained mum on this topic while discussing the new parking garage during a board meeting on July 17. Another opportunity for a Sertus project financing update occurs tonight at the Board's Finance Committee meeting (7pm), which includes "Lake & Forest Public Parking Garage Financials" as part of the agenda. Has financing been secured by Sertus?

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 24th, 2012 11:13 AM

John Butch Murtagh, @JBM would seems to be Pope or Raymond. He doesn't want you to express yourself in anything that goes against what they do. It might make people start to think about all of the money they waste.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 24th, 2012 1:09 AM

@JBM - I still haven't had a reply from the list of my lies that I requested after your accusation that there are many. Now you seek my motivations and personal info. I have nothing to hide, but have no reason to share my life with you until you reveal who you are and submit my lies as a post.


Posted: July 24th, 2012 12:15 AM

What is your MO? Do you think your taxes are misspent? Do you feel your property taxes are too high? Do you need a dime? Do you need a loan? You spend countless hours on these Village issues for what? How can someone who ISNT in govt be so buried in Village issues? Why do you care? Dont you rent?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 11:42 PM

Sertus Games - What if Sertus' financiers withheld investment monies until there was a guarantee and proof that the village would build the garage. Would the village tell Sertus and the investor to stick it in their ears? or would that spend money to ensure that the garage was a go? Would putting the contractor on the board agenda to show good faith without actual money be a go signal? Probably not, but remember this is the gang (Four Horses of the Apocalypse) Who spent $108,000 on drawings to create a good faith message to the federal government. That did not work but it would not keep the Four from using the stunt again.

Oakparker from Oak Park  

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 10:54 PM

Q &Enuf - appreciate the additional comments. I do not live near there, but dislike the project for many reasons, including seeing no benefit to me as a resident. I know it is not realistic, but I envision for that space, creative green architecture designing a masterpiece of parking lot function and an open urban green space escape that would bring as many people to Oak Park's door as Wright.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 5:17 PM

@Q ... well, not exactly. In order to make the case the existing parking garage needs to be replaced, the village appears to have deferred preventive maintenance and repair for years. While concrete structures may last indefinitely, if not maintained, accelerated deterioration occurs to the point of diminished service life and the need for eventual premature demolition. The village needs to show proof they have adhered to their preventive maintenance plan.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 12:37 PM

Enuf is Enuf, that is much better news. Pope and Raymond will only waste 233 thousand dollars of tax payer money on their consultant friends instead of wasting millions on another garage. The garage as it is, is fine.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 11:35 AM

@Q ... the village can't build a new garage w/o the Sertus building, as the public parking component is integrated with the Sertus private parking component and remainder of high-rise building. This is why it is folly for the village to proceed at substantial expense with their design development of the parking garage w/o Sertus first obtaining financing for their end. If Sertus cannot obtain financing, the village will have wasted another $233,000 in consultant fees.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 11:07 AM

Stacy and Oakparker, the sertus project will not be built. Pope and Raymond will have the big garage built and will waste taxpayers money doing it. The property will eventually be sold to a contractor who will build a 4 to 6 stories building for residential usage.

Stacey from Oak Park  

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 9:12 AM

The Village Board of Oak Park continues to pay no attention to the wishes of the community. We of the near buy residences have hear nothing to make us like the fact that this montrosity will make the community for viable. It will only add to the already ridiculous congestion in the areat, it will not help property values at all and if this project gets any approval to start without the necessary funding in place then we are all doomed to look at yet another uncompleted project in Oak Park.

Oakparker from Oak Park  

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 1:33 AM

Amazing that they still want to go forward with this nightmare project. It's a nice building but the wrong place. Sticking that big building in that small space reminds me of the crammed-in buildings in New York. Really don't know why Oak Park wants to replicate that. The noise pollution will start from the time they start to build and never stop with all the autos and trucks trying to get into that location.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: July 21st, 2012 3:23 PM

For the past few years, Michael Glazier of Sertus stated that he couldn't obtain financing until board approval was provided, which it was on Feb. 6. 2012. The clock then began ticking, as Sertus needs to apply for building permits by Sept. 1, 2012, or risk losing its approval. I find it odd that the board discussed the progress status of the public parking garage component of the project, without asking Glazier to provide a progress report on project financing and permits.


Posted: July 21st, 2012 1:34 PM

Unfortunately, they gave me my own real computer 2 months ago. I get to use it anytime I want. Maybe someday if you can remember the the round blocks go into the round holes and the square blocks go into the square holes, they will give you your own computer two. So don't forget, that's round blocks so in the square holes and the square blocks go in the round holes.


Posted: July 21st, 2012 7:00 AM

@@Unfortunately. They only let me use it when I have adult supervision. What about you?


Posted: July 21st, 2012 12:12 AM

Unfortunately, we could not bring you back with us, but glad they are still letting you use the computer.


Posted: July 20th, 2012 7:52 PM

Hey, "Silly" ("Ha" and "@Q," etc) must be back from her vacation!!! Wondered why the idiotic comments had gone away, but, hey, they're back! BTW, how was the visit to your former home at Bellevue? How does a place like this work their "work release" plans? Welcome back - you weren't missed!


Posted: July 20th, 2012 4:50 PM

Qlueless and charming.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 20th, 2012 3:00 PM

Ha you forgot the second Ha to your name.


Posted: July 20th, 2012 12:53 PM

lies lies lies, from Q and Enuf.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 20th, 2012 11:31 AM

John Butch Murtagh, I've always said, it won't be built. Is that a surprise for Pope and Johnson? Those guys are always up to something.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 20th, 2012 11:30 AM

Eunf is Enuf, doesn't make sense why Pope and Johnson would give Sertus the land. I didn't know about if this Summer is doesn't get built that they will sell it to another developer. It just made sense they would try to do that. It's so simple to figure out Pope and Johnson's schemes. Maybe that is why it doesn't make sense because it is so simple. They aren't very clever people and when the crap hits the floor, they just walk away from it like a cat that knocked of a box of crap.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 20th, 2012 9:21 AM

A very concerned looking Michael Glazier, Sertus Principal, was at Monday night's board meeting. He had a brief meeting with Planner Craig Fallor about the meeting agenda and left immediately.

Eunf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: July 20th, 2012 8:38 AM

@Q ... Sertus purchased land occupied by the previously existing buildings, primarily through a loan by the owner of the grocery store. Wonder how that loan is working out? The village is transfering their property under the footprint of the current parking garage to Sertus for no cost. Michael Glazier of Sertus stated that he would move on and sell to another developer if he had not obtained financing by this summer. Wonder how that is working out?


Posted: July 20th, 2012 5:54 AM

Let's call it Pope's "Glory Hole".

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 20th, 2012 1:22 AM

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park, you know that Sertus was given the land so he had something to put up for potential investors. The land was given away by Pope and Johnson, and now they are taking tax payers money to build a parking lot, and when someone asks, why when the building is not built, they will say, we thought it was, now lets move on to something else. Then someone will ask if Pope and Johnson got the land back, and the answer will be no. Sertus sold the land to another developer.

Basil Fawlty  

Posted: July 19th, 2012 11:08 PM

@ resident. Yeah, we use to climb the fence and go down to the bottom of the hole. I'm thinking the current boondoogle should be called the "Field of Pope Dreams".


Posted: July 19th, 2012 10:55 PM

Have any of you lived here long enough to remember the "Stankus Hole"? It was at the opposite corner (after 10 years of being a hole in the ground it became 100 Forest Place) We can name this new hole either the Sertus Hole or the Pope Hole.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: July 19th, 2012 3:16 PM

Here we go again ... backwards, as in, cart before horse. Even though Sertus hasn't yet obtained financing, leaving the project in doubt, the village is assuming the project will proceed by paying a consultant $233,000 to complete design development of the public parking garage within 60 days, as well as issue an RFP for parking operations next month. This project is not a go until financing is guaranteed, making this village assumption an unnecessary risk of public funds.

23Bob from oak park  

Posted: July 19th, 2012 2:57 PM

Paul, somebody reported they saw Tom Barwin driving the street sweeper on the shoulder of I-65 on his way to Sarasota, Florida. And BTW, you're like the "Where's Waldo?" of the Wednesday Journal comments pages. We never know what article one of your street sweeper comments will be tied into next. Thanks for the laughs.

paul from oak park  

Posted: July 19th, 2012 12:38 PM

Does Sertus have a street sweeper we can borrow?

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 18th, 2012 3:48 PM

OPRFDad, there isn't going to be anything built there by Sertus. Oak Park is going to waste millions on tax dollars because they get something in return, and tax payers get nothing, and that's just how everyone likes it.


Posted: July 18th, 2012 2:11 PM

You hit the nail right smack dead on the head!! Kudos to you me friend. Yet, they will try and try and try in all the wrong ways. One day they too shall learn how to bring change in a effective manner.


Posted: July 18th, 2012 1:36 PM

Wait a second. Wasn't this supposed to be a hotel? Now it is a 20 story residence? Great, more ghettos off of Lake St.


Posted: July 18th, 2012 9:57 AM

Q, neither John or you have any power to do anything but gripe on a online local newspaper forum. Move on.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 18th, 2012 12:03 AM

John Butch Murtagh, this is another scam of Pope's and Raymond. First off, how does Sertus own part of that land? There was never money paid for it. Sertus is not building his building because he does not have the money for it. The results will be an over built parking lot that will not bring in the revenue, and when you ask why it isn't bringing in the projected revenue, the answer will be the hotel was never built, but Sertus still has the free land. Get our land back, John Butch Murtagh.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 11:00 PM

I was at the meeting on Monday night. When the consultant said that Sertus would be ready to meet with the board's finance committee in July, the Interim VM quickly jump in and said that the meeting was status and would not contain any dollars discussions.


Posted: July 17th, 2012 10:14 PM

Has all the snow melted yet???


Posted: July 17th, 2012 10:09 PM

Fawlty Tower


Posted: July 17th, 2012 10:01 PM

Can we call it the Barsotti Tower on Murtagh way?

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