The site of former concrete company H.J. Mohr & Sons Co. is back on the market. The “L”-shaped Mohr property, 3.29-acre plot of land represented by realtor Peter Poulos was previously under contract back in February to an unnamed developer. But that potential deal fell through due to COVID-19.
“The developer up until COVID-19 was hitting all the marks. They did everything they said they were going to do. They didn’t miss a beat. Everything was in alignment and then boom! COVID-19 hit and it seemed like there was a lot of uncertainty in the market, which there is,” Poulos said. “If I had to point the finger at the problem, I’d say COVID-19. It pushed us into a position where the developer’s end user – one or two, I don’t know how many – had some concerns and hit the pause button.”
The uncertainty surrounding when the COVID-19 pandemic would subside contributed to the contract falling apart. Timing, Poulos said, typically kills deals.
Poulos said the initial developer remains interested in reentering discussions post COVID. He also said there has been strong interest in the property from multiple other users.
“It seemed like in the beginning COVID-19 was going to be a one-month, two-month, three-month delay from the developer’s perspective,” said Poulos. “The developer just wanted some time to get some things in order. We couldn’t define it. I believe that was the problem. There’s just such an unknown timeline, so they fell out of contract per their request, nothing to do with the owners. And the owners allowed them out of the contract.”
The developer, Poulos said, could not get a firm commitment from their client. Despite the contract falling through, the developer has maintained an interest in the property and in moving forward.
“We’re still talking to them. They’re still very much interested in the site. They’ve invested a lot of time, a lot of energy, a lot of money. They like the site,” Poulos said.
The property sits on the corner of Harlem Avenue and Garfield Street, taking up a whole block, and also includes a small area along Garfield to the east of South Maple Avenue. That smaller area was used by H.J. Mohr & Sons Co. to house concrete trucks.
The listed price of the full property is $6.675 million.
Poulos has also been showing the property, with everyone wearing masks for safety, to other developers who have shown great interest in the property, which he called a “very sought-after location.”
“We’ve had everybody you can think of looking at that corner, from car dealerships to gas stations, carwashes, medical centers to microbreweries,” he said.
Although there are many birds in the bush and none officially in hand, the original developer is not completely out of reach.
“We’ve had multiple showings and a lot of interested parties,” said Poulos. “On one hand, I’m grateful that we still have active significant developers reviewing the site. The existing developer that had it under contract is still under tow, trying to figure out how they can move forward in an adjustment to their plan.”
Given the property’s proximity to the CTA Blue Line and the highway, as well as the sheer size of it, Poulos does not anticipate the property languishing in real estate purgatory.
“It’s a wonderful space and I feel like it’s going to come back and what’s going to be there is going to be something very thoughtful and fit in well and be well respected within Oak Park,” Poulos said. “I’m very confident we’re going to move forward.”