The little red farmhouse-style building tucked between two apartment buildings in the 1000 block of Washington Boulevard in Oak Park is reminiscent of the building in the 2009 Pixar movie “Up” – minus the balloons that lift the structure away into the wild blue yonder. 

But in this version of the tale, owners Rayman and Malini Patel are trying to convince the municipality to allow them to tear down the 119-year-old structure to make room for a five-story, nine-unit condominium building. The proposal also seeks to tear down a coach house in the backyard that is almost as large as the primary three-bedroom house.

It would be the first multi-unit structure built along the row of condos and apartment buildings on Washington Boulevard in recent memory.

The Patels are retired and say if the proposal is approved by the village, they’ll get to live in one of the condos as part of the deal.

Rayman Patel said in an interview last week that he and his family purchased the building in 1974, and they have lived there since 1979. 

“This is a good neighborhood; it’s the best neighborhood in Oak Park in my opinion,” Rayman Patel said. 

He said he’s been working with a developer and an architect on the proposal, which first must gain approval from the Oak Park Zoning Board of Appeals and the Oak Park Board of Trustees.

The proposal must receive variances from the village zoning code for height, number of dwellings allowed and how far the condo building would be set back from other buildings to the east and west.

The zoning code requires a 9,900-square-foot lot for a nine-unit condo building; the lot is just over 8,000 square feet. The maximum height allowed is 45 feet, but the proposal asks for a height of 55 feet. Also, the side setbacks must be five feet, but the condo building plans for three feet.

The condo building design by River Forest-based architect Hague Architecture features yellow or red brick for three of the floors, a gray stone ground floor exterior, and a French gabled roof at the top. The units would each have three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Nine parking spaces would be available to tenants in a lot behind the building to the north.

Jonathan Hague, principal of Hague Architecture, said in a letter to the Zoning Board of Appeals that “development and associated costs are projected slightly above $4 million, on the project at eight units the projected profit will be approximately $43,000; therefore, the request for the nine units.”

Hague said in a telephone interview that he and the developer are “willing to put money into the project, but we need variances to do that.”

He said infill multi-unit buildings don’t get built in Oak Park often, because there is so little available space and teardowns are infrequent “because the housing stock is all pretty good.”

The proposal will be presented to the Zoning Board of Appeals on April 4 at 7 p.m. in Oak Park Village Hall Council Chambers, 123 Madison St.


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