There is a large, mixed-use project coming to Lake Street and Lathrop in River Forest. That is certain despite the narrow vote of approval last week from village government’s Development Review Board, despite the still-to-come vote by the full village board.
This building, or some very close facsimile, is coming. If a project, addled by fits and starts for a decade, can be described as a runaway train, this would be it.
The village board has already directed the village administrator to negotiate financial deals for two of the current commercial tenants on Lake to relocate to a woebegone Madison Street strip mall and to find the moving and build-out funds in the Madison Street TIF. That’s an interesting move.
Marketing of the building is already underway. That suggests a certain swagger.
Sure, there is the inevitable opposition. It’s too tall. The design is too bold or too banal. Where will all those people park along this currently sleepy stretch. And, yes, even complaints that this is all happening too fast.
My, my, my. Critics claim they are startled that after 10 years waiting out a real estate recession, 10 years of endless, sometimes seemingly hopeless recriminations over soil contamination and who was responsible (Ed Ditchfield of River Forest Cleaners, btw) and who would shoulder the cleanup (taxpayers, of course), there is no room for surprise. This is exactly the same project that a succession of village boards have dreamed about. High-end condos. Restaurants. Five floors.
Make this happen.