Shovels will be in the ground at the end of the month, or thereabouts, on the 20-story mixed-use Lake and Forest real estate development in downtown Oak Park, according to Village Manager Cara Pavlicek.

The village board worked to amend the redevelopment agreement with Golub Real Estate, largely tightening technical language, authorizing a license agreement for the parking garage that will stand adjacent to the development and establishing dates for commencement and closing of construction.

Pavlicek said in an interview that demolition of the existing garage is expected to begin at the end of September or early October.

She said Golub has secured financing for the project, and lenders have requested largely technical amendments to the RDA.

The village also approved financing for the portion of the parking garage construction it will assume. That letter of credit will be issued through PNC Bank.

“We won’t post the letter of credit until they start demolition,” Pavlicek said.

Despite years of delays on the project, Village President Anan Abu-Taleb said Golub has kept its promises on timelines since getting involved in the project.

“So far these developers have done everything they told us they would do, and those are the kind of developers you are looking for,” he said during the Monday evening board meeting.

Pavlicek also said the developer has been good to work with, and she expects the project will move forward as scheduled.

“We’re pretty excited that (Golub knows) how to do this; they obviously know how to bring in the financing,” Pavlicek said.

Meanwhile, the village also discussed prematurely ending a valet parking program established for displaced parkers during the demolition and reconstruction of the parking garage.

Pavlicek said the parking program, which is funded by the village, aimed to provide service to 80 drivers per day, but Pavlicek noted in a memorandum that only 34 people used the service in the month of August.

“It’s a little slow getting off the ground, but we continue to think it’s a good option we’re providing folks,” Pavlicek said, adding that if the numbers are not up by January, the board should revisit funding the program.

Trustee Peter Barber said he thinks the valet parking service – which runs the village roughly $8,300 a month – should be eliminated if more people do not start using it by next month.

“One of the things that made me want to support it was this concern that we’re going to have a lot of elderly and sick folks who need to be able to park conveniently to be able to access the doctor offices nearby, and if that’s not happening, I don’t see why we as a village want to incur the expense,” he said.  

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