Keystone Ventures will have another 120 days – until June 14 – to negotiate an agreement with the village of River Forest for redeveloping the property at Lake Street and Park Avenue. 

Trustees on March 14 unanimously granted the extension to the River Forest-based company, owned by Tim Hague, which had last fall approved his concept of building a condominium/townhome/commercial development at the site.

As part of the motion granting Hague the opportunity to redevelop the site, he had been given until March 14 to cobble together an agreement.

Two impediments created the need for the time extension. Negotiations between Hague and the village regarding the Lake/Park development have not even started yet, because Hague and village staff had been concentrating on finishing a redevelopment agreement for another development at Lake Street and Lathrop Avenue, village administrator Eric Palm told trustees on Monday. 

The village and Hague have nearly concluded the Lake/Lathrop discussions, Palm said. That issue was on the agenda for executive session on March 14, and it could come back for approval later in the month, Palm added.

In addition, policy approved last month by trustees gave the River Forest Economic Development Commission a role in assessing the viability of TIF projects and commercial ones on village-owned land. 

The EDC already has provided Palm with terms commissioners would like to see in a redevelopment agreement. Palm said he would be pulling that information together and presenting it to trustees at a later date. 

Input from the EDC and trustees will help the village negotiate with Hague while crafting a redevelopment agreement. That agreement would come back to the board for approval. The project would then go to the Development Review Board for recommendations. The village’s board of trustees will make the final decision on approving the agreement.

River Forest has pegged redevelopment of the Lake and Park site as a priority since the village bought it more than 10 years ago. In 2015, after months of meetings and discussion village trustees in October selected the concept offered by Hague, opting to reject the EDC’s recommendation for Pine Grove Centrum Partners’ idea to construct 80 luxury rental units.

Keystone Ventures’ plan calls for a five-story building with 28 condos and 13,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. Seven townhomes also would be constructed. There would be 125 parking spaces, the majority in a surface lot. Pre-sales of 50 percent would be needed to make the project work. If it doesn’t take place, the units will become rentals. 

Any significant changes to this proposal, such as lowering the number of condos or eliminating the townhouses, would have to be discussed with trustees.

River Forest purchased the parking lot across the street from village hall in 2004 and a house on the same block in 2010; the house subsequently was razed.

After unsuccessful attempts to find a developer in 2010 and 2011, the village received three proposals in December 2014. After considerable study, the EDC in May 2015 recommended Pine Grove Centrum Partners’ plan, saying luxury rentals would provide the housing options that would allow empty-nesters and seniors to stay in River Forest.

If Hague fails to assemble the properties or if talks between the village and Hague falter, it is uncertain what would happen next with the land.

It is uncertain when talks on the Lake/Park development between the two sides will begin, and it is uncertain if Hague has even begun discussions on purchasing the other parcels needed to make his concept a reality. 

Palm said he has not discussed Lake and Park with Hague. Efforts to reach Hague were unsuccessful.

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