Two mixed-use office buildings in downtown Oak Park were sold last week to UrbanStreet Group LLC for $6.95 million. The deal could pave the way for another multi-story mixed-use real estate development at the intersection of Lake Street and Forest Avenue.
Terry McCollom, a co-owner of the buildings at 1000 and 1010 Lake St., said in an interview that the deal was completed last Wednesday but declined to discuss the details of UrbanStreet's plans for the two buildings, which take up nearly an acre of land at the intersection.
Asked whether the 24,017-square-foot, two-story building at 1000 Lake St. was likely to be torn down and rebuilt as a residential real estate development, however, McCollom said "it doesn't take a rocket scientist" to figure out what might be planned.
UrbanStreet could not immediately be reached for comment, but a press release notes that it is the company's first investment in the Oak Park area.
"We are excited to be part of the vibrant community of Oak Park and look forward to working with the village of Oak Park," Bob Burk, managing partner at UrbanStreet said in the press release.
Tammie Grossman, development customer services director for the village, said the village has not received any proposals or permit applications for redevelopment of the 1000 Lake St. site.
William J. Novelli Jr., senior vice president with CBRE, the real estate company that brokered the deal, said in a telephone interview that the building at 1000 Lake St. would most likely be torn down and redeveloped. But Novelli could not give details about what might be planned.
Urban Street's proposal for a mixed-use real estate development project at Harlem Avenue and South Boulevard earlier this year could give an indication as to what the company might have planned for 1000 Lake Street.
UrbanStreet partnered with North American Properties on the Harlem and South project, proposing a 10-story building with 205 apartment units and 8,465 square feet of street-level retail. The village ultimately chose a different plan by Lincoln Properties for an 11-story mixed-use rental apartment development at that village-owned site.
Novelli said a redevelopment deal for a multi-story project at 1000 Lake St. could take 2 to 4 years, but in the meantime, UrbanStreet is expected to rehab the seven-story office building at 1010 Lake St. The building, once known as the IBM building, was built in the 1960s, according to UrbanStreet.
Novelli said the second and third floors of the building have been vacant since the Cook County Department of Health left the location around 2010. Current tenants are smaller clients with office space from a few hundred to a few thousand square feet, he said.
Novelli said UrbanStreet plans to upgrade parts of the building such as common areas, the lobby, bathrooms and possibly some exterior features.
The sale of the building is McCollom's last big deal as a real estate broker, he said, noting that he will enter semi-retirement. McCollom added that, along with the sale of the building, UrbanStreet is setting up office space in the 1010 Lake St. building and employees for McCollom's real estate firm will continue as UrbanStreet employees.
McCollom said the office building may also have a new tenant, noting that he received a letter of intent by an unnamed company last week to rent a full floor of office space. Each floor has approximately 12,600 square feet of space.
John Hedges, executive director of the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation, said in a telephone interview that he's also heard rumors about the redevelopment of the 1000 Lake St. building. He said UrbanStreet has not contacted OPEDC, a quasi-governmental economic development group aligned with the village, because the transaction is a private deal that did not involve the village.
"It would be nice to have more office space downtown, but I'm sure they're looking at residential and retail," he said.
Hedges added that the 1000 Lake St. building, constructed in 1959 and originally home to Lytton's department store, "is probably getting to the end of its life expectancy."
He said that if there were a development, it likely would be smaller than the 21-story mixed-use residential tower planned for the northeast corner of Lake and Forest.
Village President Anan Abu-Taleb said in a telephone interview that he met with representatives of UrbanStreet when they bid for the Harlem and South Project, but said the purchase of 1000-1010 Lake St. was a private deal that did not involve the village.
"I'm glad they did not give up on our community, and they came back and found a project they are interested in," Abu-Taleb said. "That gives me a lot of hope and confidence that Oak Park is turning the corner to attracting good investments, smart investments and developers that feel this is the right opportunity."