Courtesy Ranquist Development Group

The Oak Park village board approved plans Monday for a massive residential mixed-use building at Harlem Avenue and South Boulevard and moved forward with plans for a 28-unit condo building at Lake Street and Euclid Avenue – the site of the former Tasty Dog restaurant.

The Harlem and South proposal by Lincoln Properties is for a 12-story, 263-unit apartment building, 10,000 square feet of ground-level retail space and a 398-space parking garage. That proposal, located at 325-331 Harlem Ave., which received final approval by the board of trustees, also will include closing off part of South Maple Avenue.

The project will be located on two surface parking lots currently owned by the village government. The development faced tough scrutiny from the village’s Plan Commission, whose members criticized the original proposal for its bland design that members said resembled an office building.

Trustee Bob Tucker lauded design improvements since added to the effort. “The collaboration made a good project much better.”

It’s the third major residential development approved for construction near downtown Oak Park, following the 21-story, 270-unit apartment tower at Lake Street and Forest Avenue and the 20-story, 271-unit residential development near Lake and Harlem.

Oak Park Trustee Adam Salzman applauded the proposal, noting that developers have been planning a building for the site since he joined the board of trustees.

“When [Tucker] and I joined the board in 2011, the process of getting the South and Harlem parcel developed was really nowhere. There was a lot of discussion about how to jumpstart it. There was a lot of frustration and concern that this would never happen,” he said, thanking Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb and the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation for moving the project forward.

Abu-Taleb noted that the Lincoln Properties building is a $110 million investment in Oak Park.

“This is big; this is what the community needs,” Abu-Taleb said. “This is a good night for Oak Park.”

Trustees also moved forward with a proposal for the condo building planned for the site of the former Tasty Dog restaurant by Ranquist Development Group. The board approved the redevelopment agreement, and now the plan goes to the village’s Plan Commission for review.

The Oak Park Economic Development Corporation solicited proposals from developers last year to replace the hot dog restaurant, which was forced to close after failing to pay its rent. That property at 708 Lake St. also is owned by the village. 

The so-called District House project is expected to cost about $17.1 million to build and will include condominiums that range in size from 1,700 to 2,000 square feet. 

Village Manager Cara Pavlicek introduced the plan Monday, saying that now that District House is moving forward “it will be the very last time” trustees refer to it as the Tasty Dog site. “From now on we’ll say District House,” she said.

Closure of the Tasty Dog restaurant caused some controversy last year, primarily because of locals’ affection for the fast-food joint commonly frequented by locals after high school football games and other sporting events. 

The village has agreed to sell the parcel to Ranquist for $1.8 million, according to Tammie Grossman, the village’s director of Development Customer Services. Grossman said the sale would relieve the village of any environmental cleanup needed for the site.

A portion of the sale price, $280,000, will be set aside in Oak Park’s Affordable Housing Fund, which is used to help establish low-cost housing in the village. Trustee Andrea Ott applauded the village and developer for making affordable housing a priority with the project.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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