When he ran for election as Oak Park’s village president four years ago, Anan Abu-Taleb spoke plainly of his desire and his plan for the village to move smartly to spur large-scale residential and commercial development. We supported that idea.
We’ve also supported his efforts to remove or shorten the government process obstacles that have turned past Oak Park development projects into endless horrors resulting in mediocre buildings.
Over the past two years as Abu-Taleb shifted the focus from projects in the pipeline for Downtown Oak Park to Madison Street, the Journal has copiously reported the public steps toward change and, as we were able, the more shielded steps. On the public side, we’ve covered the remaking of Madison Street zoning from Austin to Harlem, the decision to focus village efforts from East to Home, the acquisition of property on the street, the ongoing discussion of the “road diet” and the proposed “bend” in the road that was clearly tailored to support a single, large developer’s efforts.
And we’ve reported on the name of the clearly preferred developer, Jupiter Realty.
Now, to check a box in the legal process required, the village put out a short turnaround Request for Proposals for developers for this site at Madison Street and Oak Park Avenue. The deadline for submissions has passed and now, at this late date, the village and its Oak Park Economic Development Corp. partners have gone into radio silence. How many proposals were received? we asked. More than one. Who are the developers? Top secret. When will this review process move ahead? Could take weeks.
Feels like an odd time to revert to old ways to spur development.