Slaton’s Supper Club, 144 S. Oak Park Ave., closed in early June, paving the way for the restaurant space to be included in a development proposed to stretch over at least four properties and around the corner at Oak Park Avenue and South Boulevard.

John Schiess, architect for developer Alex Troyanovsky, released preliminary sketches in March of two 4-story condominium buildings planned to replace the four buildings under the developer’s control: from the two-story coin laundry and apartment building at 126-134 Oak Park Ave. (which abuts Slaton’s) north and around the corner going east to the one-story blue 715 South Blvd. building. The design would preserve facades of architecturally notable buildings.

Because Slaton’s owners sublet the space, their departure put control of the space back into the hands of Anan Abu-Taleb, owner of Vivaldi, which formerly operated there. Abu-Taleb will likely negotiate with the building’s owner, most likely for a buyout of his lease, Schiess said.

“I’m hopeful” to bring the building into the development, Schiess said. “I don’t see [Abu-Taleb] opening up the restaurant.”

But Mark Andrzejewski, owner of the Vivaldi building, said, “I have the lease, so I’m not negotiating anything right now.” He said he has not had contact with Abu-Taleb, but said the restaurant owner could also find another subleaser.

“I don’t know what he’s up to,” Andrzejewski said.

Abu-Taleb could not be reached for comment.

Schiess said he has thought about how the building would be incorporated into his design, but would not comment on details. He did not think the restaurant’s facade would be preserved, as he did not think the building would be considered historic.

However, a Village of Oak Park architectural survey from July 2005 lists the one-story Vivaldi building as a “contributing” structure to the Ridgeland Historic District. Other buildings whose facades were slated for preservation also bear the “contributing” tag, while the 721-23 South Blvd. building (yellow brick David A. Noyes & Co. building) is considered “significant.”

“OK, then we have to preserve the facade,” Schiess said. “It’s not a big deal. It’s not a deal-breaker for us.”

Andrzejewski and the developer have discussed a possible sale for “at least a year,” Schiess said. Andrzejewski said the developer would not buy the building with the lease but said he hopes it can be included in the major redevelopment project Troyanovsky has planned.

“If everything goes right, yes, of course, we will sell the building,” Andrzejewski said.

Tim Kuck, a co-owner of Slaton’s Supper Club, said his decision to close came in early June after a meeting with his attorney and accountant. He said business had been slow since the holidays, but that the reason he decided to leave was that construction of the development would have hurt the restaurant’s business. He has no plans for reopening Slaton’s.

“At the moment, no,” Kuck said. “At the moment I’m concentrating on catering.”

Before opening Slaton’s, Kuck and his partners operated Twelve Group, a catering firm, out of a Brookfield.

That Twelve could be operating out of its former location “comes as a surprise to me,” said Steven Campbell, the company’s landlord in Brookfield.

Campbell said the business is nearing its fifth month of not paying rent, owing him more than $13,000, “plus penalties and fees,” and that it is still responsible for a lease at the location. Campbell said Kuck and other Twelve owners have not tried to contact him to get the lease up to date, that the last two checks they wrote to him came back “stop payment,” and that the entire company is in distress.

“Think of it as Enron on a restaurant level,” Campbell said.

Kuck called Campbell “unhinged” and said, “If I could get out of [the Brookfield lease] I would.”

Slaton’s Supper Club made a $10,000 donation to the Gay Games, which will conduct some events in Oak Park in July. Kuck said his catering services would be used by the Games. “We’re still getting the benefit of [the donation],” he said.

Kuck added that the restaurant had been a financial drain, but he had “no clear figure” on how much money he’d lost since opening last July.

CONTACT: dcarter@wjinc.com

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