An Oak Park-based bank has put plans to build a new branch office on Roosevelt Road on hold, as it figures out what it wants to do in the south area of the village.

Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest was looking to put a three-lane drive through facility on the northeast corner of Roosevelt and Home, to help increase its presence in south Oak Park. The bank bought the property it needed in 2008 for $880,000, and got approval from the village in February 2009.

But the proposal has languished, and no construction appears to have happened since the approval date more than two years ago. Since then, Community Bank has bought up properties on the rest of the block, spreading farther east. Those include the vacant former Girl Scouts headquarters at 6930 Roosevelt, which the bank purchased in March 2009 for $1.7 million, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds Web site.

The bank still plans to develop the site as a branch, according to Walter Healy, president of Community Bank. But they’ve put the brakes on the idea, he said, as they figure out how they want to develop the entire block. Community Bank purchased the adjacent properties to be able to “control that aspect of the development,” Healy said.

“It might take on a different look, but it is still our plan to have a presence on Roosevelt Road,” Healy said.

Community Bank is working on a “comprehensive plan” and is figuring out how it wants to develop the Roosevelt road block “in conjunction with other opportunities,” according to Healy.

The institution previously had proposed to put a branch at 809 S. Oak Park Ave., but the village denied its application in 2005. Since then, the BP Gas Station next door to that proposed location has closed and is on the market. Healy, however, declined to comment on whether the bank was interested in the gas station property.

The bank also has plans to add a facility at the historic Drummond Building in the 7700 block of Lake in River Forest. They’re gutting the property and using the eastern portion of the first floor for bank offices and a drive-through facility while preserving the façade. According to Healy, that project is moving forward, with construction starting in 45 days.

The former Girl Scout property at 6930-34 Roosevelt has a stack of unpaid property tax bills, according to Cook County’s annual tax sale notice, which was published in Wednesday Journal on Aug. 4. According to the county, $160,672 in unpaid taxes has accrued on the property for the tax years 2006 and 2007.

Healy said that the bank believes the taxes are far too high, as the building was vacant at the time, and it is working with the county to reduce the bill.

“I believe we will be successful in our appeal,” Healy said.


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