Lake and Forest talks put off until October

With village, developer agreement in limbo, staff recommends tabling matter

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

The Lake and Forest development appears as an item on Monday's Oak Park Village Board meeting, but unlike the recent meetings about the project, the matter isn't up for discussion.

Instead, staff has recommended a motion to table discussion, and an ordinance related to the public/private development that is slated for Lake and Forest. According to the village board agenda released Friday, the topic is only going to be presented for "informational purposes" and to establish a date to discuss the matter for consideration.

According to the agenda, the Redevelopment Agreement calls for the closing and transfer of the village-owned property to the developer, which was supposed to occur by July 19. An extension to that may be granted by "mutual written consent of the village and developer," the agenda states.

While the village has received a formal request — via a letter on behalf of Lake Street Investors — there has been no mutual agreement for the closing date. That request, however, comes with amendments to the redevelopment agreement, according to the agenda.

"The village has received from Lake Street Investors a formal request for consideration of various amendments to the RDA, including an extension of the closing date," the agenda reads. The development group is requesting a six-month extension so it can "finalize a financing plan for the construction of the building," according to a letter sent to the village Aug. 28.

It's unclear, based on the agenda materials posted late Friday, what other amendments may be on the table concerning the redevelopment agreement. Village Manager Cara Pavlicek could not be reached immediately Friday afternoon about what that may entail. But according to the agenda, the motion is being made so staff can review and make its recommendation on the developer's request for an extension as it relates to supporting documents that were received after Sept. 9.

The board does have the ability to not table the issue; however, staff suggests it is needed to "allow for a full review of the developer's request." Denying the developer's request remains a possibility at Monday's meeting. The village board can also approve tabling the issue and still deny the extension request at the Oct. 7 meeting, which is the date staff recommends bringing the item back for discussion.

Speaking to Wednesday Journal Monday, Pavlicek stressed the need to have the Lake and Forest discussion soon, because of the potential impact any future development would have on capturing TIF dollars.

"There is some further public discussion that has to be had with Lake and Forest," she said. "[The discussion] is going to happen."

Before the project can move forward — either by current developers, Lake Street Investors, or possibly a new group, Golub & Company — Pavlicek said a financial review will be needed. That review, she adds, will explore what capacity any developer has to bring the project to fruition. Golub reportedly has interest is stepping into the project, according to James Prescott, a spokesperson for Sertus Capital Partners (the former name for Lake Street Investors).

The biggest issue at hand, from the village's perspective, is that the developers haven't closed on the land, nor have they revealed the financial ability to do so. The transfer of public property hasn't happened because of this. This also relates back to capturing what's left in the Downtown TIF before it expires.

According to Pavlicek, the ability to seize TIF dollars was the reason for the redevelopment agreement in the first place. This also ties into the agreement by the developers to construct a new garage on the property, which will be partially owned by the village — the village owns the land under the parking garage while the developers own the other plot of land.

The question remaining, Pavlicek said, is "does delaying construction also mean a delay in the taxable valuation? That's a financial piece the village will care about."

While it appears any discussion about the future of Lake and Forest won't be happening next Monday, if staff's recommendation is upheld, the matter will be discussed on Oct. 7.

Lake & Forest has new developer interest

More questions than answers remain for the future of the long-delayed and sometimes controversial Lake and Forest development slated for downtown Oak Park, possibly more now than ever in the project's seven years of talks.

With a $4.9 million foreclosure suit now being brought by the project's original lender, with Oak Park's village government pressing over missed deadlines, and with Michael Glazier, the original face of the 20-story retail and apartment project having left the development firm which bought the parcel in 2006 and persevered through a bad economy and lengthy planned unit development process, there is great uncertainty surrounding the future, if any, of this major development.

But on Tuesday morning, James Prescott, a spokesman for Sertus Capital Partners, the original developer, sketched an odd picture of unexpected developments at Sertus throughout 2013 but held out hope that a new and major investor – and the new employer of Glazier – might step up and, with some added patience from village hall, be able to build the exact project already approved.

That developer is Golub & Company, a Chicago-based international real estate development group where Glazier began work Aug. 1 as one of five senior vice presidents. Glazier had previously worked at Golub for a decade leading up to 2002.

"Golub's interest is significant," said Prescott. The spokesman said discussions began within the past month between Golub and Sertus and also between Golub and PNC Bank to buy the past due note.

At some point those discussions will need to include the Oak Park village board which seems increasingly concerned over any further extensions on a project where the village is both regulating the developer and is itself a partner with the developer in replacing a decrepit public parking facility.

The topic is expected to surface at a regular village board meeting within the next month, according to Village Manager Cara Pavlicek.  

Prescott detailed the unexpected January death of a Sertus principal, and one of its strongest financial investors, as setting off a series of delays and side discussions that eventually led to the current discussions with Golub. One of those lengthy discussions was reported by the Journal online last week and involved a potential partnership on this project between Sertus and Tampa-based DeBartolo Development. Such an investment was referenced as recently as last month in a letter from a Sertus attorney to the village government.  Prescott said however that a potential pact with DeBartolo now seems unlikely after the Florida firm was unable to negotiate an agreement with PNC to buy the note.  

On July 8 a lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by PNC Bank against Lake Street Investors, LLC. The lawsuit alleges that no payments have been made since the balloon mortgage was due in March 31, 2012. Missing that date left Lake Street Investors in default of their loan agreement.

The bank is now demanding $4.9 million in principal and interest for the amount loaned for the mortgage.

Unrelated to the lawsuit, Pavlicek wrote a letter on behalf of the village to the investment group's attorney Rolando Acosta on Aug. 19 to inform the group of the deadline lapse in relation to the village agreements. The letter references the redevelopment agreement (which has been amended and restated) , reminding the group that the closing on the property was to occur no later than 16 months after the amended planned development was granted (March 19, 2012).

Closing for the property was supposed to be done by July 19 according to terms of the redevelopment agreement, and construction was to be started by Sept. 1, according to the planned development ordinance with the Village of Oak Park.

"The village is notifying you that Lake Street Investors may need the consent of the village board to effectively transfer any interests granted by the redevelopment agreement." Pavlicek wrote. "As such, I would like to have a specific understanding of the details of the joint venture agreement with DeBartolo or any other entity as soon as possible in order to facilitate a review by the village board in a timely fashion."

This element and the fact that the group missed two deadlines recently, will force Lake Street Investors to go before the village board again to ask for another extension. It's up to village staff between now and that board meeting to determine the best recommendation to move forward.

Prescott said Tuesday that if an agreement is reached that the plan would be to construct the building exactly as approved. "I don't think anyone wants to start a new (development review) process. There is no cost to the village to give us more time. The timelines were made in good faith. But things change."

Pavlicek's letter also states that "the village does not intend to dissuade [the investors] efforts at moving this project forward," instead, she said, the letter is to simply remind the group where it is out of compliance and what steps are needed at the village board level before the project can move ahead.

A letter written from Acosta dated Aug. 28 requests a 180 day extension.

"As you are aware the process of building permit drawings in nearly finished. [Lake Street Investors] is currently working to finalize a financing plan for the construction of the building.

We believe that a 180-day extension would allow sufficient time for these matters to be finalized and construction to commence," Acosta wrote in the letter on behalf of the investors.  

Pavlicek said this matter has not been scheduled for a village board meeting yet, but depending on how long staff needs to review whatever documents Lake Street Investors submit, the issue should be on the docket for the Sept. 16 or Oct. 7 regular board meeting.

Publisher Dan Haley contributed reporting to this story.

Contact:
Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

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Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 12:25 PM

Anna Lothson, thanks for the info and for your effort in providing so many complex details.

Anna Lothson from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: October 9th, 2013 12:02 PM

@Neighbor. To answer your question about the Oct. 7 date, staff had mentioned the 7th as the next possible time to bring up the topic. It was then decided to have it at the meeting on Oct. 21 because of potential board schedule conflicts. I can't recall if it was formally decided it would be on the Oct 21 agenda that night or not, but that's what I've been told as of today. I apologize for not pointing that out earlier.

dystOPIa from OP  

Posted: October 8th, 2013 5:38 PM

Tonight's so-called public forum is administered by the 'Committee to Elect Anan Abu-Taleb', as per http://www.ananforoakpark.com/. It is not an official village meeting, nor is it being administered by an objective nonpartisan organization. The full village board needs to address the status of the Lake-Forest site in a public meeting and discussion immediately.

Mimi Jordan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 8th, 2013 4:52 PM

The notice was buried in the calendar section. Is also in Oak Leaves and The Patch. Last time Ms. Lothson live-blogged it so people who couldn't come in person could still participate. Maybe she will again.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: October 8th, 2013 4:47 PM

Thanks, Mimi. I must have missed this post online or in WJ. Where did you find this info?

Mimi Jordan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 8th, 2013 4:42 PM

This is the main subject of the community forum tonight with Anan and Trustee Salzman, 7 p.m., Cheney Mansion. Apparently a lot of moving parts on this issue, so this might be our best chance to get current info on it.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: October 8th, 2013 3:50 PM

Want to hear what Village President Anan has to say about this. Who will account to residents and when? Rearranged my schedule last night to attend board meeting only to find this issue absent from agenda online. Ms. Lothson, any comments would be appreciated.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 8th, 2013 3:06 PM

Who's in the loop and why are residents and taxpayers being kept in the dark?

john murtagh  

Posted: October 8th, 2013 1:10 PM

Clearly someone or some group from the village is having negotiations with the Developer Sharks. For the last twenty years, the developers have won every battle. The concerning part of the silence of the last month is who is representing the residents' interests. Do we have a shark(s) or are we still using Goldfish Negotiators? If the village think that the Sertus Fiasco will end smoothly, they have forgotten that every aspect of the :Lake-Forest project will be debated.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: October 8th, 2013 11:58 AM

I also have the same question as DystOPia. Haven't been able to find this issue on agendas posted for the next and only 2 meetings listed. WJ, can you shed some light on this. Thanks.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: October 6th, 2013 7:28 PM

According to this article, staff recommended including discussion of the Sertus issue as an agenda item for the Oct. 7 regular board meeting. A review of the Oct. 7 board meeting agenda posted on the village website does not include any mention of the Sertus project. What is the status of the Sertus project, and why the delay in providing public disclosure by the village board?

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 17th, 2013 6:14 PM

Thanks, John. It appears that the project may be able to move forward with a different management team in place. The board might be delaying action until the money issues are resolved. I certainly agree that there seems to be an ongoing effort to keep residents in the dark.

John Murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: September 17th, 2013 3:06 PM

JIM - My computer is in for repair and I had to use one that restricted me to 500 characters. While parsing the two pieces, I edited out a significant piece of info. Mike Glazier resigned from Sertus in July and was hired as a Senior Vice President by Golub. It is likely that Glazier will be the lead player for Golub and Co.

John Murtagh from oak park  

Posted: September 17th, 2013 2:59 PM

Jim - Sertus issue was tabled until Oct 21. Sertus is now out of the picture. The lead replacement is Golub and Co. Golub would have to pick up the 5 million dollar Sertus note held by PNC. During August, Golub hired Michael Glazier,former managing partner for the Lake and Forest project. (cont.)

John Murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: September 17th, 2013 2:57 PM

Worth remembering, Sertus defaulted on its balloon note for the first time in March 2012, 2 or 3 days before the board gave Sertus and extension. Did Glazier inform OP about the default? Was the board aware of the default and decide that Sertus was worthy of its trust? The current board is playing this game as if there is no reason to inform any of the goings-on. That is not the best way to gain trust from the OP residents. I agree -- start over.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: September 17th, 2013 2:45 PM

Jim ... the 'Village' needs to be differentiated between village residents and the village board. If the village board members who advocated and voted for the project and subsequent extensions walked away from the deal, it would be paramount to an admission of error and loss of political face.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 17th, 2013 1:22 PM

Why would the Village not want to walk away from the deal? What have we got to lose?

Observer  

Posted: September 17th, 2013 12:48 PM

The Village is able to walk away from this deal for the developer is in breach of contract (RDA). It amazes me that the Village wants to give such a reliable developer another chance when Sertus has yet to prove they can do anything except ask for extensions. Sertus cannot deliver this project, just as they were unable to deliver their DesPlaines or Chicago projects as planned.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 17th, 2013 12:37 PM

"Walk away from this deal". Is the Village legally able to take such action?

Observer  

Posted: September 16th, 2013 4:20 PM

Section 12.10 of the agreement states that "The Developer shall?submit to the Village copies of the tenants' monthly and annual sales tax reports." It should also be noted that the developer is in default of their agreement which they signed. Specifically, Sections 13.D and 13.E which state, respectively, that the developer needs to remain "free and clear of all liens" on the property and the developer "shall remain solvent and able to pay its debts." OP should walk away from this deal.

Crazy  

Posted: September 16th, 2013 3:18 PM

The notion that its legally binding is ludicrous. Of course both sides have expectations of tax revenue. Legalities, thats all.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: September 16th, 2013 2:37 PM

The village board needs to understand the value of TIME and RISK. As the developer misses scheduled dates on the project timeline, the village moves further away from pre-existing tax revenue, and further delays projected tax revenue. The village incurs greater risk with time as the parking garage continues to deteriorate, project expenses and bonding market rates increase. Project time extensions can only be provided if the village is compensated for the value of lost time and increased risk.

Sorry  

Posted: September 16th, 2013 2:20 PM

Variances and such granted have NOTHING legally to do with any future tax revenues.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: September 16th, 2013 2:19 PM

Crazy's contentions are just nonsense. There isn't a municipal board ANYWHERE that doesn't factor property and sales taxes into their calculations regarding new development. And there isn't a developer anywhere who doesn't bring a list of supposed benefits that will accrue to a municipality if it permits their planned development. NO VILLAGE anywhere simply allows a development, especially a high density development, without expecting tax benefits that make it worthwhile to that municipality.

Observer  

Posted: September 16th, 2013 2:02 PM

@Crazy, you are correct that private owners are under no obligation to generate any tax dollars. However, when OP taxpayers provided the private owner variances to height, density, and parking in exchange for higher tax revenue, then the private owner DOES have an obligation to generate the tax dollars that they projected. Sertus cherry-picked their facts, the Village Board believed Sertus's cherry-picked facts despite evidence to the contrary, and OP lost money.

Market  

Posted: September 16th, 2013 9:24 AM

People complain about a mattress store coming to the old Borders site, yet its generating more rev than being empty. Same is true for any store front. You cant have it both ways. Private landlords can put any tenants they choose that will pay their rent.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 15th, 2013 11:57 PM

Is OP's biggest General Fund (GF) problem revenue or expenditures? In the 1990 Comprehensive Plan, the number one Economic Development goal was to expand the village's tax base in order to maintain a high level of services, programs and facilities. Two objectives provide the goal foundation -- 1) To maximize the potential for establishing tax-generating commercial and residential development and redevelopment, and 2) to stimulate increased private investment. The foundation was weak and residents have suffered as a result. Revenue could be the savior, but not for four or five years when Clark and Sertus (or a stand in) produce revenue. Revenue has potential. It also has risk. The expenditure side of the question has more potential. A comparison of local communities shows that OPV has 173 Full Time Employees (excluding Public Service ?" police, fire, etc) versus Berwyn's 84, Park Ridge's 96, Lombard's 97, Buffalo Grove's 98, Wheaton's 118, Downers Grove's 122, and Elmhurst's 131. The savings in OPV's Full Time Employees salaries against the other seven communities range from 4.2M a year, to 8.9M a year. Why does OPV need so many more employees than the others? It is likely that there are myriad of reasons. The only way to find out is to do a manpower audit and identify if and where the village is overstaffed.

Crazy  

Posted: September 15th, 2013 11:23 PM

What could be, what should be, what is? Lost revenue of hypothetical numbers. Craziness. Pure craziness. I suppose we could have higher revenue generating stores than we currently do? Do we blame and hold Mike Fox accountable for not generating enough tax revenue. Pure nonsense. Private owners are under NO OBLIGATION to generate any tax dollars by law.

An honest man from This deal smells  

Posted: September 15th, 2013 8:02 PM

If the Village Board allows this deal to continue, the Village Board is stealing from the public. It does not matter if the politicians profit personally. If a public official allows an unethical transfer of public rights, the officials cannot be trusted. The Village Board will add to the public distrust of politics. There is nothing wrong with the garage ... The problem is the replacement and maintenance of the elevator. The zoning trades are stealing from Oak Park. The deal is a swindle!

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: September 15th, 2013 7:47 PM

dystOPia, I'd offer that being an "advocate for the success of this project" doesn't present an inherent conflict of interest, though it certainly tends to make people reticent to acknowledge, if not mistakes, then at least the problems that develop. Lots of details of such a major financial process attendant to projects like Lake and Forest must of necessity remain confidential. But that doesn't mean the village's elected and appointed officials may remain mute about problems that arise.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: September 15th, 2013 7:17 PM

I entirely agree that "The real issue is making certain that due diligence is applied to the developer's promises." But how can due diligence be applied if the village itself is a partner in this Public Private Partnership, and as such, senior village board members have been advocates for the success of this project from the start, and therefore have an inherent conflict of interest? It would seem only an independent third party can provide the necessary objectivity to provide due diligence.

rfrench from OP  

Posted: September 15th, 2013 6:20 PM

clearly, it is not going to happen. kill the deal now. if the new group wants to submit a plan, let them

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: September 15th, 2013 4:17 PM

Without suggesting blame for any particular party in this, the issue of lost property and sales tax revenues over a period of years makes any assertion that this is solely a private issue just plain ridiculous. Vacated businesses no longer pay sales taxes, and as the records show, the EAVs are appealed and the tax rates drop by 50 to 90 percent when empty or demolished. Guess who makes up the difference? The real issue is making certain that due diligence is applied to the developer's promises.

dystOPOia from OP  

Posted: September 15th, 2013 3:24 PM

The point being, the multiple delays to the project by Sertus have cost the village in a growing lost of property and sales tax revenue, relative to both pre-existing businesses and proposed development revenue, as well as a loss in staff and board time, design and const. document expenses for the new village parking garage, as well as a gaping eyesore. If Sertus desires another delay, they need to compensate the village for all associated delay of project costs.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 15th, 2013 1:34 PM

dystopia - Wow - really significant info.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 15th, 2013 1:33 PM

dystopia - Wow - really significant info.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: September 15th, 2013 1:25 PM

In exchange for significant zoning variances with regard to building height, density and parking, Sertus agreed to provide compensating benefits to the Village, which were primarily comprised of an enhanced property tax base. As per the amended RDA application, anticipated tax revenues generated by the proposed development were projected to be $1,565,000 per year. As per the original schedule, the project is 2 years behind schedule, which will result in a loss of anticipated village tax revenue.

John Murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: September 14th, 2013 11:21 PM

MONDAY OP BOARD MEETING RE SERTUS - Agenda Item Title Motion to Table Consideration of Amendments to the Amended and Restated Redevelopment Agreement (RDA) for the Lake and Forest Development generally at the northeast corner of Lake Street and Forest Avenue. Staff's recommendation to board is for the tabling the agenda item until Oct. 7, 2013.

OK  

Posted: September 14th, 2013 12:41 PM

Good design costs much more than not. No one is doing this to lose money.

Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park  

Posted: September 14th, 2013 12:07 PM

There was a time about a hundred and ten years ago when Oak Park was the front lines of architectural innovation in the Chicago area. It is time that we begin to encourage new and excellent designs. Long processes are killers for development and lead to people having to cut their losses with cheap construction. I fear this project will end badly, as Whiteco did.

Money  

Posted: September 14th, 2013 11:21 AM

If this developer falls through then we move on to a new plan. I have no problems with that. 5 MIllion in the lawsuit is chump change for multi million dollar developers.

Private  

Posted: September 14th, 2013 11:19 AM

I can buy a building and tear it down? Most people dont do that to make money, unless they have a plan to build a new building to generate revenue. Still a private issue JBM. The only public part is the agreement with the Village regarding the garage. Not worried

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 9:04 PM

I agree that the Village Board should rely upon staff recommendations but wonder why they have specifically requested that there be no public discussion? Offering no explanation does not appear to be in line with the president and trustees' pledge of greater transparency. Of course, negotiations may need to be conducted behind closed doors but there needs to be some assurances that a new deal will not approved without allowing the public, interested parties and local taxing bodies to comment.

john murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 1:11 PM

The board and village use of secret dealings under the guise of closed door board meetings to allow discussions without revealing strategies to competitors is a fraud. The board and village has released no meaningful information on the possible impact of the "private problem". As residents we have little choice but to bring up the issue endlessly. The days of the last board are over. We have a right to understand what is being done!

John Murtagh from oak park  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 1:00 PM

Private - Private Issue?????? Who financed the Sertus Follies? It sure isn't any developer. It's the OP residents and business that are that received higher taxes to subsidize the loss of revenue from developments that were poorly negotiated, delayed by the board willingness to give endless extensions, an plan that allowed the spending of a small fortune on Madison St. with no return on the residents investments. As far as my standards are concerned. I only have one -- Fair Play.

Observer  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 12:50 PM

@Private, this is not a private affair. The Village entered a legally binding agreement with Sertus, which Sertus broke by not paying their bills. Now the Village needs to decide what to do with a garage that was, in my opinion, willfully and intentionally neglected. The garage, if you read any of the redevelopment documents, is an integral part of the skyscraper development. The foreclosure and lien are private matters that have serious public implications.

Observer  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 12:49 PM

@Mo Money, it takes money to make money, but Sertus never had the money. If they did, the property would not be in foreclosure and have a lien placed against it. This is not the first time Sertus has been in foreclosure or had a failed development. Sertus has a history of failed developments. The Village Board has a poor track record picking good development partners and Sertus is just another example of a bad decision.

Mo Money  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 12:20 PM

If my house closing fell through, would you care? The process continues. Its not a huge eyesore like SOHO was. It takes money top make money.

Private  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 12:18 PM

Its not like the corner is 1/2 built and shut down. The garage is not in danger of falling down either. As for JBM, is it your duty to let us know when something is not working according to your standards. What is happening at Lake and Forest is a private issue that you wish to make a public. Sorry doesnt add up sir.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 11:58 AM

@Private ... "fall to pieces" is an apt phrase and a real concern for the village-owned Lake/Forest Parking Garage. It appears that due to deferred maintenance and repair since 2006, the L/F Garage has been intentionally neglected by the village to justify the Sertus/Oak Park redevelopment project, resulting in a significantly compromised current value. If so, this is negligence of public capital assets, and should be investigated as such.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 11:51 AM

@JBM ... the current situation with Sertus is what happens when a community with limited expertise partners with a private developer in the real estate development game. The village's redevelopment agreement with Sertus is in conflict with it's primary responsibility of protecting the public interest. This lesson should have been learned from Whiteco, and is currently following the same script (per the Terms of Agreement) in the public/private partnership w/ Clark St. re. the Colt/Westgate site.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 11:48 AM

Private - Thanks for letting us know everything is OK. Your reassurance reminds me of the hundreds of time the old board told us everything was OK with Sertus, Madison Highlands, Madison Avenue, and the Tiger. Hopefully you right.

Private  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 11:21 AM

The previous building was purchased in a private deal. The village had no interest in that deal. The village was to play a part in the new development that has not happened. Whats the uproar. This is a private issue and you all speak as if OP will fall to pieces over this corner????

Observer  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 9:15 AM

The one thing that Lothson and Haley failed to report is that PNC will surely demand principal and interest, but penalties as well. Add to this mess that Epstein also have a lien against the property which will make transferring it property even more difficult. At least OP does not have a vacant building like DesPlaines did when Sertus foreclosed on another project. We just have an ugly lot with a bad sculpture. I wonder what the spin will be now to justify throwing more money at a bad project.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 9:11 AM

James - you could not be more wrong in comparing Pope and Anan. Pope operated with a cone of silence. He negotiated without telling the balance of the board. He forced programs through the staff as if he was king not president. During his reign, both the board and staff complained about his secrecy and manipulation. You need to pay more attention to Anan's style. Start with comparing his transparency on government to Pope's.

john murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 9:04 AM

Reason for my previous post re negotiations. Who will handle the negotiation mess that faces the village in determining the strategy on the Sertus Meltdown? Each member of the Clark negotiation were involved at one time or another in Sertus Development. The old board and staff contributed to the Meltdown by showing more loyalty to the developer than the residents. If Clark is creating such a kerfuffle, what will Sertus's negotiations cause?

James  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 8:57 AM

As much as it might pain you, Johnson and Lueck are correct on that one John. The VP and board for that matter need to let the staff do their jobs. If you want another President in the weeds you should have asked Pope to run again.

john murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: September 13th, 2013 8:27 AM

Planned Stalemates - Trustees Johnson and Lueck have decided that they should determine the role of the president of the board in negotiating the Clark Development. Anan wants to be on the negotiating team.. They don't and VM Pavelik agrees with them. We elected Anan to lead; not to take direction from Pope's cliche.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: September 12th, 2013 11:31 AM

Mr. Prescott / Sertus is quoted, "There is no cost to the village to give us more time." This statement excludes opportunity cost, which is the value of alternative options forgone for this site, including leaving the pre-existing business and buildings as they were. Opportunity costs include lost property & sales tax revenue and jobs since 2009, lost time of village staff / board, and lost community focus on other important issues. The village needs to be compensated for these opportunity costs

Adam Smith  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 2:16 AM

I would settle for a $2,000,000 payment to the Village for the extension as compensation for lost real estate tax and other revenue.

Ken C. from Oak park  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 12:14 AM

I still think the site would make a great dog park. At least we could get some use out of it. My dog might not live long enough to see anything built there anyway.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 10th, 2013 11:56 PM

Hi Jim - I doubt the Sertus/OP will wind up in court. I think that the end game will have the village making the choice. Don't forget, the board was an accomplice in the nightmare. They made a poor choice at the start and then kept giving delays without understanding Sertus' financial condition.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 10th, 2013 11:35 PM

What's the end game? A lot of questions about the developer but it's not clear why they would continue to promise the Village Board that they intend to build on this property. I imagine finding investors is a challenge but the Village has been cooperative and agreed to the extensions. Does Sertus need to demonstrate to the courts that thay will able to meet their obligations and needs the board's support for now?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 10th, 2013 9:58 PM

Barry Lind, at the time of his death in a car accident last January in California was the managing partner of Silver Young Capital. He was also associated with Blitz/Lake. Lind was a noted investor in Chicago. Considering all the money men and corporations involved, it is hard to believe that the late Barry Lind's death caused Sertus' problems. Sertus had not made loan payment to PNC for nine months before Mr. Lind's death. I think the explanation coming from Spokesperson Prescott statements are hog wash. It is important for the board to understand the relationships between all the investors before even thinking of going into business with any of them. "Who knew what; when! It is impossible for me to believe the staff was unaware of what was going on. That is particularly true of the Mike Glazier exit and his hiring by a company who want to take over the Sertus deal.

Cdonovan2  

Posted: September 10th, 2013 9:30 PM

"might step up and, with some added patience from village hall, be able to build the exact project already approved." The operative word is "might".

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: September 10th, 2013 5:09 PM

Michael Glazier is Brilliant!!! Like the illusionist, David Copperfield, he can take a prime downtown corner, and in a blink of an eye, make local businesses, buildings and $4.9M disappear! Like Siegfried & Roy's animal act, he can train the entire village board to jump through hoops, roll over and play dead! And like the Music Man, Harold Hill, he can con an entire town to believe the ugly weed patch of the past 3 years is going to be a beautiful, shiny 20-story building. Bravo!!!

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 10th, 2013 5:05 PM

The Village should not be brought in to this delay. Now is the time the Village can place themselves in a better position, and fully state what will happen after they fail to meet the new time line they want to establish. This is a delay tactic that is used to benefit the borrowers and has nothing to do with gaining investors to build this project. If the Village can't understand that, then they need to find someone who does know.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 9th, 2013 4:57 PM

Neat piece of info - FYI

FYI  

Posted: September 9th, 2013 4:49 PM

"I wonder how the Plan Commission and the Board will explain their ineptitude and incompetence on this matter." The Plan Commission doesn't have to explain anything. It deadlocked 4-4 on approval and issued a recommendation to the village board that it deny approval for Sertus. The village board overrode that negative recommendation.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 9th, 2013 4:39 PM

Village Voice - I see the irony. Never was a fan of Plan 90.

City Parking Garage  

Posted: September 9th, 2013 4:38 PM

The village should prepare to abandon plans to have a new parking garage built by Sertus and prepare to tear the existing one down. Its life span is up and is likely now a physical liability for the village. Money should be budgeted for this as soon as possible. The village should be prepared to have fewer parking spaces available at this end of Lake Street until a resolution of the Lake/Forest parcel is obtained.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 9th, 2013 4:30 PM

Adam Smith - the big challenge is to identify the players. The Oak Park Sun Times article seems to have the best grasp on the complicated business arrangements. "Documents suggest that management, if not ownership of the Lake and Forest properties and building project have passed to BlitzLake Capital, LLC. If so, the transaction was a short pass. BlitzLake, Sertus Capital Partners and Lake Street Investors, as well as SilverYoung Capital, all share the same suite of offices at 225 Hubbard St., Chicago." Listed in the PNC lawsuit against Lake Street Investors are Michael Glazier, Lawrence Silver, Alan Young and Oak Park business owner John Vlahos. Mitch Goltz , the man whose name is now on the sign at Lake and Forest is the Vice President of Chody Real Estate Corporation and a principal at Blitz Lake. There will be snow on the ground before the lawyers even know each other. The big issue for the village is to determine which investors, real estate agencies, brokers, and planners should not be invited to Oak Park in the future

Observer  

Posted: September 9th, 2013 4:18 PM

I guess those that were opposed to this project were right; Sertus was not financially capable of completing this project. Unfortunately, the Plan Commission and the Board ignored and marginalized those that were opposed to the development. Now the property is about to be foreclosed upon and once that happens we can expect to see a vacant lot and no tax revenue for a very long time. I wonder how the Plan Commission and the Board will explain their ineptitude and incompetence on this matter.

Adam Smith  

Posted: September 9th, 2013 4:14 PM

If there was demand for a hotel at that site it would be open by now or built nearby. The biggest problem with the Village is their belief that they know more the market. Dictated development per master plan or planning board whim rarely succeed.

Hotel  

Posted: September 9th, 2013 3:47 PM

I have faith in OP and I am not at all concerned about blithe anywhere around Lake and Forest. I still would like to see a hotel built in OP.

Village Voice  

Posted: September 9th, 2013 2:25 PM

Does any one else find it ironic that after a few decades of TIF in Oak Park, we actually more have blight - in terms of bombed out swaths of commerical real estate - than we did 25 years ago?

DeJordy  

Posted: September 9th, 2013 1:07 PM

Well, at least we have a vacant lot and still don't have to put up with the presence of a full-service grocery store that many people could walk to and that made life better for seniors with its delivery service. I'll take dreams of a high-rise over that any day!

Adam Smith  

Posted: September 9th, 2013 12:28 PM

I don't find any joy or satisfaction in anyone's failure. Sometimes you take risks in life that don't work out. The foreclosure process may need to play out before anything happens at the site. The old saying, "pioneers get shot, settlers get the land" often plays out in real estate development. The Village needs to simply convey to the development community that they are eager and willing to entertain proposals.

Realestate 101  

Posted: September 9th, 2013 9:41 AM

The owner of Pans owned the previous building and was paid a HEFTY amount of money. He is laughing all the way to bank.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 11:23 PM

JBM, initially my point was for the board to consider delegating negotiation with developers to a committee-or OPDC, if you will, as a more efficient process, the board's role being as policy making and final approval per RF Aducci's proposed model. Of course it would be up to the board to report this information to the public, not OPDC or any committee. Appreciate the investigate effort you and other commentators make in providing us with needed information.

Eric B from oak park  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 10:22 PM

" the investors face new challenges" ??? The Sertus deal has been dead for a long time and shame on the Village and both local newspapers for trying to create the impression of anything else. The first line of this article reveals it all, the WJ is either being daft or deceitful. So we have have had a vacant lot with $0.00 sales taxes for years with nothing to show for a replacement. All the proof we need that the Village must for now and eve get out of the development business! Please!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 8:54 PM

I would be in total shock if it was found that the Oak Park Development Corp. was unaware of the Sertus situation. The OPDC is advisory to the village and would not be expected to be releasing any info they had to the public. It is the OP Government that is responsible to the public.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 8:48 PM

Q - I really have no idea if the village can get out of the Sertus situation by simply saying goodbye. There are two many investment firms, developers, real estate agency courts,and lawyers for a layman to sort out. This story is far from over.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 8:42 PM

FYI - I did not say there is a relationship between the village and the WJ. My point was that WJ was slow in going after the story. Why I don't know. Perhaps it was the village not being willing to discuss the impact of the Sertus situation and not revealing enough to allow the WJ to get out a story. It also could be that the WJ did not see news in the Sertus issue. All I know was there was a lot of information floating around the Internet that was easy to find..

FYI  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 7:22 PM

Sorry. That last should be at Neighbor from Oak Park.

FYI  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 7:20 PM

I'm not remotely suggesting the village shouldn't have been more transparent on this matter, JBM. I'm simply saying the info the WJ published required some digging. Just like the Oak Leaves article. Resulted in different sets of info. I can tell you in no uncertain terms WJ DOES NOT have an agreement, tacit or otherwise, with the village regarding info on Lake and Forest. Both papers are woefully understaffed in this brave new world of internet journalism, yet both did a good job digging.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 6:44 PM

I must say that JBM's question is more to the crux of the matter, ie, why has the village board and WJ kept us in the dark about the Sertus Fiasco - either accidentally or with tacit agreement to only report news that sounds positive? Residents and readers deserve an explanation.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 6:24 PM

JBM, my thought was for a commission to negotiate with developers instead of the board, not so much "review". Has the Oak Park Development Corp. been involved in this project? If not, why not? If so, they haven't been very effective.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 5:39 PM

John Butch Murtagh, what would be wrong if the Village sent a letter to the current owner of the property at Lake and Forest, saying the deal is off and let the owner know if they want to build something to contact the Village for approval.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 5:12 PM

Boy do I hate the idea of having a commission review all developments before they go to the board. It would add another layer in a process that is already too complex. I would favor better use of Oak Park Development Corporation. It has business and government insight, negotiating skills and financing wherewithal. Some non-partisan citizen with matching skills could be added to provide a wider objectivity set. The primary role of OPCD, beyond village development should be to provide both the board and staff with counsel on development. To make it work, the activities of OPCD would have to be more transparent and independent.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 5:10 PM

Jim Bowman - Either paper can call itself the Daily Planet it wants. The issue with both is getting the right info to the community in a timely fashion.

Jim Bowman from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 4:59 PM

FYI has it right. Don't say Sun-Times when it's Oak Leaves, JBM et al. Owned by same entity, are not the same things.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 4:27 PM

John Butch Murtagh is correct.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 4:04 PM

John Butch Murtagh, you are correct.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 3:53 PM

FYI - I really don't care whether either paper filed for FYI's. They should not have had to. The village should have told us that Sertus was in trouble that might result in another delay or a cancellation. That should have been when the information first hit the Internet, not two months later.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 3:13 PM

FYI, John Butch Murtagh, "FYI No Way! The reporter said, "you gotta give me something!" and the village came up with a couple of boiler plate letters and meaningless quotes."

FYI  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 2:54 PM

Q, the WJ obviously FOIed the letters they quoted from. What the Oak Leaves did has no bearing on that. Both papers had things the other didn't.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 2:48 PM

Neighbor from Oak Park, that is exactly what Oak Park board members need. They don't have the experience and if professionals in Oak Park would be willing to share their expertise with the board, it will benefit Oak Park as a community.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 2:45 PM

FYI, your comment, "Gathering news takes time", didn't make sense regarding W.J. not having any story about the Sertus project, but John Butch Murtagh, was able to find the Sun Times story and the paper didn't have any problem finding the story.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 1:55 PM

The legal details are enlightening. Aside from my last comment, what is the next step? Where do we go from here?

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 1:42 PM

As per the Redevelopment Agreement (Section 16.01): "Time is of the essence of this Agreement." (Section 16.02.G, Default Under Lender Financing):The occurrence of a monetary event of default under the Lender financing, which default is not cured within any applicable cure period, shall constitute an Event of Developer Default. It should be noted that according to the initial Agreement, construction was to have commenced on Dec. 27, 2010, and have been completed by Dec. 26, 2012.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 1:29 PM

RF Prez Adduci has a good idea that seems to have evolved by watching OP's struggles with $ development. Rather than negotiating with developers at board level, she would like to "create a commission of members who have the kind of skill set to guide is in this process...the board's role is to approve and set policy." WJ 9/3. Surely we have enough talent in OP to create such volunteer commission. An idea worth consideration and observation for progress, I think.

dystOPia from OP  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 1:29 PM

It does not appear Sertus (Lake Street Investors) has any right to sell (assign) the project w/o village consent. According to the Redevelopment Agreement between the Village and Lake Street Investors (Section 15.02.A: No Assignment Prior to Certificate of Completion). "Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, this Agreement is personal to the Developer and may not be assigned prior to the Village's issuance of a Certificate of Completion, without the Village's consent.

FYI  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 12:49 PM

"FYI, John Butch Murtagh can detail facts."..... OK. And, so?

Q from Oak Park   

Posted: September 8th, 2013 12:11 PM

FYI, John Butch Murtagh can detail facts.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 12:08 PM

Bridgett, that is nice that the property owners have let the Village dump on their property.

FYI  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 11:56 AM

The facts of how the paper gathered the information is easy enough to establish, JBM- FOIAs are FOIAable. Submit a Freedom of Information request asking for any FOIA from the WJ in past two weeks. You'll get a copy of the request and responsive material.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: September 8th, 2013 7:16 AM

Q, The Village got permission, had an arrangement with the developer, to store the trees from the storm on that property. It was mentioned in a WJ story, or it might of been mentioned at a Village Hall meeting. Or both. I don't remember.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 10:42 PM

FYI No Way! The reporter said, "you gotta give me something!" and the village came up with a couple of boiler plate letters and meaningless quotes.

FYI  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 10:38 PM

Can't speak to various people's motives, JB Murtaugh, but based on my experience, I suspect the WJ needed a few days to get back FOIAs on those letters the referred to in their article. Gathering news takes time.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 10:09 PM

In the WJ article the day (8-30) after the village forum, the word Sertus did not appear. In a string of subjects discussed "Lake and Forest" was listed but not Sertus.?" Lake and Forest was also mentioned in the statement, ""Roughly two-thirds of the crowd had questions about Lake and Forest." The questioners used the word Sertus ?"frequently and forcefully. But the WJ did not. Two days after the forum I posted some details ?" the Sertus law suit, the proposed transfer of Sertus to Chody Real Estate, the involvement of Mr. Goltz, a Vice President at Chody and the man named on the site, and the fact that Chody built primarily strip malls and has never built a 20 story luxury building There were no replies from posters much less village officials. The Wednesday Journal of Sept. 4th did not have any coverage of Sertus. On Sept. 5, Oak Park Sun Times published a detail article about Sertus, the default, the lawsuit, the new developers, and a whole mess of detail on the owners, brokers, partners, etc. The next day (Sept 5) the WJ ran an article with the information multiple WJ posters had already covered, and a whole bunch of information on letters that village officials have sent to different people in the mess. This all leads to one question, Were Oak Park officials and the WJ keeping residents completely in the dark on the Sertus Fiasco accidentally?, Or were they following the unpublished board and village protocol that OP reveal as little as possible to the residents unless it is good news.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 9:37 PM

John Butch Murtagh, I am in full agreement with you that the new formed board does need time to discuss what needs to be done, and make logical decisions without bringing in expensive consultants. If the board requires additional help, let people in Oak Park know.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 9:31 PM

FYI, then the Village has dumped onto private property, and that is going to be a fine that tax payers will need to pay unless there have been arrangements that the Village is allowed to dump on private property with the owners.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 8:41 PM

Q - My experience with government is that transition of authority is extremely difficult. Be a sport, give the new board at least six months before condemning it.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 8:38 PM

FYI - I did not get in as deep as the OP Sun Times on tracking down ownership. After the forum, I went to the Sertus site to get the name. The name on the sign name was Mitch Goltz. I don't recall it saying he was the retail agent. A check of the companies led to Chody Real Estate Corp. where Goltz is a vice president. I also found that Goltz was the retail agent for BlitzLake on the Broadway project. I needed no more to post the strange goings on. After your post, I googled BlitzLake and Oak Park and found a Sun Times article that adds a lot to the mystery. Article URL is http://oakpark.suntimes.com/news/for_eclosure-OAK-09122013:article. It is a worthwhile read. This whole thing is a game of Who Do You Trust.

FYI  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 7:09 PM

I'll make this very simple, Q: Lake Street Investors, LLC took out two mortgages totaling $7.5 million to purchase three parcels from between 946 Lake to 954 Lake, in March, 2006. The first mortgage, the primary mortgage, is being foreclosed on, and the defendant is the LLC, not the village.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 6:29 PM

dystOPia from Oak Park, you are expecting people to be responsible for their decisions. If people started standing by their decisions and saying they are wrong when they are wrong, and give up their position, 98 percent of politicians would be out of a job.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 6:25 PM

Our leader is very ambitious about bombing Syria, and it seems that the W.J. would have some talk about it. Obama just wanted to teach Assad a lesson by killing people, but now he wants to get rid of Assad. If anyone thinks they know why bombing Syria is so important, post it here so we can all get behind our President. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/05/syria-china-russia-opposing-military-strikes

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 6:21 PM

FYI, Raymond Johnson said the property was still owned by the Village. Let's say Johnson didn't understand the question. If the land is privately owned, then the Village should not have dumped all of the tree's on private properly. If they did without permission from the owners, the Village may have to pay a fine for dumping.

OP  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 6:15 PM

The board either lacks the expertise or will to address this issue. These types of investment are layered, complex, highly leveraged. Without a cohesive strategy you swing at everything -because you can't identify strikes. Lets hope the Board at least knows that it lacks the expertise to address this...

dystOPia from Oak Park  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 3:04 PM

A majority of members of the 'new board' are the same as the 'old board'. Time for Trustees Ray Johnson and Colette Lueck, Bob Tucker, Adam Salzman and Glenn Brewer to explain why they initially approved this development, and/or why they approved multiple extensions. Heck, let's bring David Pope back and explain why he championed this project during his entire tenure as board president.

FYI  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 1:12 PM

Sell what property, "Q"? The only property the village owns is under the parking garage. Lake Street Investors, LLC purchased all the other property in 2006.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 12:54 PM

John Butch Murtagh, there is always the excuse that it takes the new board to learn what was done wrong. It didn't take Obama any time to know what Bush did wrong, and now is repeating what Bush did wrong. The new board members know what needs to be done, and if they are able to do what they want with tax payers money and not be held responsible for their actions, then they will do it. Expect the new board to make smart decisions because they have all of the information what went wrong before.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 12:50 PM

John Butch Murtagh, people interested in joining the board are people who should have being paying attention to how the previous board did things. That means they already know the mess, and have though of what should be done. First thing is you send the letter to notify that the property owned by the tax payers in Oak Park, is no longer available. Forget any lawsuit that may be brought up of Oak Park doing, to gain back what was lost. It would be a waste of money. Place the property for sale.

FYI  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 12:28 PM

@Bruce Samuels: The taxes on the EAV of EACH of the two main properties along Lake Street between 946 and 954 Lake, have gradually dropped from around $31,000 in 2007 to $5,000 in 2012, due to appeals. Then there are the lost sales taxes from Pancake House, Certified Grocers, etc.

FYI  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 12:20 PM

JB Murtaugh- WJ dug up a lot of useful info. Now check story in other media for additional useful details, then Google BlitzLake LLC and SilverYoung Capital, and check out their incorporation addresses. Goltz is just the leasing agent.

OP  

Posted: September 6th, 2013 11:33 PM

The entire strategy needs to be overhauled and any existing deals viewed from the new lense/perspective. The strategy needs to be cohesive, well thought out and actionable. No more BS/fluff. OP has a set of assets that can be leveraged with the right thought leadership. Some of those include unique/compelling housing stock, above average income, strong art interest/food base, relatively concetrated business district.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 6th, 2013 10:33 PM

Q-So far I think the new board is doing a fine job. They were left with a development mess and need to be given time to reverse the past bad decisions. They have taken a stand on Madison, brought in a DTOP project that has potential. The next issue to face is the 2014 Budget. With no new developments likely to generate revenue the next five years and minimal seed money to get retail going, I don't see how the board can avoid a budget reduction. The Sertus disaster is not of the new board. People who knew the project well warned the board of the high risk involved. They were ignored. The village needs to get out of any of the existing Sertus deals and start the Lake and Forest project over.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 6th, 2013 9:33 PM

John Butch Murtagh the board and the residents don't need to have a lot of work ahead of them. This deal was never going to happen. The board could say after years of waiting they have decided to let a strip mall be built there. The village owns the property according to Johnson. The offer never worked so any deal is closed and the village can sell it and this time without offering a new parking lot built. Everyone should be glad it never was torn down. Board members don't understand business.

Tom from op  

Posted: September 6th, 2013 9:30 PM

Glad they didn't tear down the parking garage. It will be needed to service the new strip mall. A beat up parking garage is better than none.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 6th, 2013 8:36 PM

Upon signing the agreement with Sertus, former Village President called the proposed project a "Win-Win" for Oak Park. Not sure if that is still the case but the board and staff have to work together now to get this prime location developed.

OP  

Posted: September 6th, 2013 8:22 PM

@ Murtagh. Thank you for the insightful posts. Any village should conduct heavy diligence and require bonding etc before undertaking a project of this scope. Also, there needed to be constant contact with the relevant parties. OP needs to blow up economic development and start fresh. Noone knows how many bad deals are still out there OR how manu good deals were missed. OP does several things well but doing business the right way is not one..

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 6th, 2013 8:06 PM

Additional info on Sertus from a post I made on 9/30. "Sertus faces a $4.9 million foreclosure lawsuit from Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank N.A. Sertus failed to pay off a $4.5 million mortgage when it came due in March 2012, according to a complaint filed in July in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Sertus has transferred or sold its right for the Lake and Forest Project to Goltz Realty, a partner of Chody Real Estate. Mr. Goltz is a Vice President at Chody. Chody's specialty is Commercial Acquisitions and Retail Development. According to the photos on the Chody website (http://www.chodyre.com/properties/default.aspx) Chody specializes in strip malls. The OP project is a twenty story apartment house. The transfer of the development property from Sertus to Goltz/Chody requires village board approval. It is not known if Goltz/Chody has financing, how risky their lack of hi-rise experience is, whether they will want to make changes to the plan, and how long would it take for Goltz/Chody to absorb the Sertus project plan. Realistically anticipate further delay. Actually, we should hope for a delay. The board and the residents have a lot of homework ahead of them. All info in this post was researched on Google.

OP   

Posted: September 6th, 2013 7:48 PM

Sorry did IQ's drop? Has anyone read all of the posts regarding OP's lack of saavy and expertise in ED? This is yet another example. 6 years since deal started and just now sending a letter? Clearly there is no relationship in place. The board should be embarrassed...

Bruce Samuels from Oak Park  

Posted: September 6th, 2013 7:25 PM

Business Plan: 1. Buy building(s) occupied by small businesses. 2. Knock down building(s) and loose real estate taxes and small businesses (Colt , Forest/Lake & Highland/Madison ). 3. Land sits empty for years or turned into parking lot. 4. Pay large corporate business to build inappropriate structure (Whiteco).

Ed   

Posted: September 6th, 2013 7:20 PM

What a waste, Certified could have still been there, Z

Oprez  

Posted: September 6th, 2013 5:59 PM

Surprise, surprise

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 6th, 2013 5:53 PM

Johnson said the village owns the property. This deal is a waste of time, and Sertus can't get anyone interested in investing. The village wanted to tear down the existing parking lot. It's nice the parking lot was not demolished. It is time for the new President to explain to the board members how business is done to benefit Oak Park, put the lot up for sale.

Stuart Leitch  

Posted: September 6th, 2013 5:49 PM

When a big project fails, people always are hurt, but many people feel that this one was a bad idea from the start. I hope we can see the end of this soon, and I hope the investors can recover their losses in a better venture. (I might add that this article badly needed editing. Wednesday Journal never publishes such bad prose ?"%uFFFDlet's not start now.)

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