Elected officials and Oak Park decision-makers got their first look at the village’s next residential high-rise at the “topping off ceremony” for the 12-story luxury apartment building being constructed at the corner of Harlem Avenue and South Boulevard.
Jim Banovitz, senior vice president for the construction company AECOM Hunt, which is building the tower, told the crowd that the 250-unit building is expected to be completed in early 2019 and will be occupied shortly thereafter.
And now it has a name — Eleven 33 after the building’s address, 1133 South Blvd.
The development is the work of Lincoln Property Company, which was chosen as preferred developer of the village-owned site in 2014.
Joe Segobiano, director of development for Lincoln, said at the topping off ceremony — where the final beam, signed by officials, is placed on the project — that the company is working to find tenants for the 9,000- and 6,000-square-foot retail spaces on the ground level.
“We’re hoping that we can get a restaurant or two on the east end here,” Segobiano said, adding that the smaller spot on the west end of the building was intended for a service-oriented business.
The property most recently served as two surface-level parking lots and was owned by the village of Oak Park, which issued a request for proposals from developers in 2014. The village has been gradually divesting itself of such properties and working to bring in mixed-use developments that include residential and commercial units.
Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb, who pushed to bring the development to the village, said that as recently as a few years ago the Oak Park owned over 350,000 square feet of land in the village.
“All these properties were off the tax rolls — vacant, ugly and unproductive,” he said. “Economically and visually they negatively impacted their own surroundings. The two lots this development was built on were among these vacant properties.”
He noted that the developments are aimed at easing the tax burden on Oak Parkers.
He said Lincoln paid the village $1.1 million for the land, included five affordable units in the building and contributed $700,000 to the village’s affordable housing fund.
“Like Vantage (150 Forest Ave.) and The Emerson (1135 Westgate St.) developments, when this project is complete 500 more people will call Oak Park home,” Abu-Taleb said.
Lincoln’s Jillian Larkin, who was named regional property manager for the project, told Wednesday Journal that the building would include 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom and penthouse units. Among the amenities are a fitness center, social room, garden terrace with fire pits and meeting rooms.
The building offers views of downtown Chicago and is considered a transit-oriented development; it is located across the street from the Metra and CTA Green Line to downtown Chicago.
The event was attended by local officials such as Village Manager Cara Pavlicek and Oak Park Village Trustees Deno Andrews and Simone Boutet.
Andrews said it “makes sense to put something like this in this neighborhood” because of its proximity to the Green Line.