By Anna Lothson
Oak Park residents waiting to see the development design for the corner of Lake Street and Forest Avenue by Sertus Capital Partners will have to wait a bit longer.
The building permit submission deadline for the 20-story commercial development is Sept. 1, but the board approved a 60-day extension request from the developer on Monday. The proposed structure, which would contain residential apartments and retail space, also incorporates a public parking garage that would be jointly operated with the village.
In the meantime, however, the village board set in motion a formal review of the drawings of the development proposed for 150 Forest Ave. Along with the extension, trustees approved a contract with the International Code Council to perform a plan review of the drawings submitted as part of the permit process.
According to a village report, the International Code Council submitted a proposal, not to exceed $36,000, to conduct the review. The portion to review the garage design is $6,200. The cost of the review, however, will largely be covered by the developer as the village will only be responsible for its portion of the proposed parking garage.
Plan reviews include an evaluation of the mechanical, plumbing, electrical, accessibility, energy conservation and fire protection systems in the building to ensure it matches the village's building codes and ordinances, as well as state mandates.
The reason for having a third-party review was detailed in the village report approved on Monday, which states that without using an outside source, the size of the proposed development would affect the turn-around time for other projects submitted for review. It's expected that even with the third-party help it will take 20 days to complete the initial review of the project, plus additional time to possibly revise drawings based on the review. The International Code Council performs regular plan reviews for state and local jurisdictions, according to the report.
In a recent phone interview, Sertus principal Michal Glazier said they are still in the design and pricing phase of the project. Construction drawings are moving forward, but financing details, he said, are not finalized.
The rest of the schedule for the project remains intact, he noted, but the financing doesn't begin to yield results until the drawings are completed. The contractor, Power Construction, has been selected for construction as soon as the project can move forward.
The land for the project is owned by Sertus, but the village owns the aging garage that currently surrounds the property. The new parking garage is slated to be finished sometime in 2013, with construction expected to begin this year.
Discussions about the financing options for the Lake and Forest garage project are still underway with village staff as the anticipated cost of the garage will be around $8.6 million. As part of the redevelopment agreement, the village may have the ability to finance to cost with Sertus. It may also choose to finance the project itself, according to a recent finance committee report.
The preferred option, as outlined in a village report, would be to borrow money, since the village doesn't have the ability to fund the project on a "pay-as-you-go" basis.
Instead, the village may look into general obligation bonds that allow the village to issue the $8.6 million over 20-30 years. There is also a possibility to finance the project with Sertus, but no specifics have been arranged. Overall, no financing options for the development or the garage have been finalized since the design drawings are not complete.