Interest is strong among developers for the village-owned property at Lake Street and Euclid, the site formerly known as Tasty Dog.
Not a surprise. It is a prime location and certainly the village is motivated to make a deal. The Oak Park Economic Development Corporation is charged with soliciting interest in the almost-new hot dog palace, and it reports that inquiries range from another fast food joint to larger-scale projects that would demolish the corner and build a mixed use of residential and retail.
We’d be wise to recall that a hot dog stand was never the highest and best use for that prime parcel. In a Monopoly match using real PIN numbers and political muscle, Tasty Dog was moved from its original location across Lake Street to complete the assemblage of parcels that allowed a large scale townhouse, retail and parking garage project that has paid dividends for taxpayers in the village.
Now that the debt to the Tasty Dog owners has been paid, we say implode the joint and build something handsome, productive and less fattening on the corner. No, this isn’t a place for 20 stories, but five floors of apartments and retail would actually complete the reimagining of an intersection that a generation ago was an eyesore with a gas station, a used car lot, the abandoned Oak Park village hall and, the aforementioned Tasty Dog.
Time to move.