Turano Baking Co. is looking to build a $10 million, two-story office building in the 6500 block of Roosevelt Road of Oak Park, currently used as a parking lot for the bread baker’s delivery trucks.
Anthony Turano took the proposal to the Oak Park Plan Commission on June 7, telling commissioners that the company, which started in Berwyn in 1962, wants to stay “close to home.”
“This is where our business grew up,” he said.
Turano said the 30-foot-tall facility and adjacent parking lot is expected to cost the company about $10 million. It also would create a cul-de-sac on Scoville Avenue where it meets the east-west alley just north of Roosevelt “for the benefit of the neighborhood,” according to the application.
“Our proposed development is to first purchase Scoville from the alley to Roosevelt from the village, combine the properties and put up a single-tenant office building for our headquarter operations,” Turano said.
Commissioners voiced concerns about the heat-island effect that would be created from the large 96-stall parking lot and the request to make erect an 8-foot-high security fence around the perimeter of the parking lot.
The structure would have a brick and glass façade, Turano said.
“Our goal was not to match the condo building next to us, nor was it to totally contradict the design of the condo building … but to blend in with the rest of the area,” Turano said. “We don’t want to call too much attention to ourselves. We’re a family-owned and -operated business and part of our third generation. We just want to bake bread and make people happy in that manner.”
Commissioner Lawrence Brozek said he was concerned about the architectural continuity along the commercial corridor, since the building would be located next to the condo building to the east.
“If you’re trying to get some architectural continuity on a street, I think maybe it’s not as strong as it should be,” he said.
Floyd Anderson, a consultant with the village who advises on architectural design on proposed projects, said, “Would I prefer to see more street frontage along here and not a parking area adjacent to a building structure? Yes, I would. But it’s a single-tenant building. It’s a large, long rectangular site. I’m not sure what else the solution would be here.”
Brozek also questioned Turano’s request to erect a taller-than-allowed security fence. The current zoning requires fences to be 6 feet or shorter.
“Is security really an issue that you need a tall fence in this area?” he asked. “Are these employees really at risk? I kind of question the need for a tall fence on Roosevelt.”
Turano said security is a major issue along Roosevelt, noting: “I had three employees assailed in our parking lot last week. Yes, security is a grave issue.”
Commissioner Paul May suggested the company use part of its public art funding requirement for the project — such buildings must contribute a portion of the cost to include public art — to create embellishments to decorate the black aluminum fence.
Turano said he would look into the possibility but noted the high cost of the project as a potential roadblock.
“Frankly, I am under a very tight budget at this point, and all of these little things will add to my cost,” he said. “This facility is approaching $10 million, which is double what it should cost, so we’re going to be watching that very closely as we get further into this. Yeah, we’ll consider it. Will we ultimately do it? I can’t say until I have a price tag to it unfortunately.”
The commission will further consider the project at its next meeting, scheduled for July 5.