River Forest officials were told at the April 26 virtual village board meeting that excavation on the proposed development on the southwest corner of Lake Street and Lathrop Avenue is expected to take place in June and July with the start of vertical construction to follow in August.
The proposal by Lake Lathrop Partners LLC to build a five-story, mixed use development was approved in 2016. Lake Lathrop Properties is a joint venture between Sedgwick Properties and Keystone Ventures.
Jay Feeley of Sedgwick Properties told officials that the first two phases of the project, assembling the land and remediation, are complete, allowing the development to move on to Phase 3, which is vertical construction.
“We now have a property that is clean,” Feeley said, noting that all materials from demolition were recycled.
He said there are three open items on the development’s building permit, which he predicted would be addressed by the end of May. He also said site utilities removal is underway with work by Comcast and AT&T expected to be complete by the end of May. The developer also is expecting the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is sign off on the development by the end of May.
Cory Robertson, with Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, which is real estate agent for the residential side of the project, said contracts have been signed for six of the 22 units and a seventh contract is pending, which he said his team calls “a home run.”
Feeley said there has been “a lot of activity” and “a lot of excitement” with the project, adding he would consider nine contracts “to be moving forward.”
Dan Tausk of Mid-America Real Estate, which is handling the retail side of the project, said 15,000 square feet of retail space is available and considered the flexibility in creating spaces beneficial.
In response to a question from Trustee Katie Brennan, Tausk acknowledged no contracts have been signed but noted his firm has “one actively committed letter of intent.”
Feeley said financing negotiations are under way and the developer hopes to have financing in place by Aug. 1. In response to a question from Brennan, he said financing for excavation is secured.
He said vertical construction would take 16 months, which would be beyond the Nov. 1, 2021, deadline for completion stipulated in an amendment that was approved by the village board in October 2019.
Brennan also asked that updates on the project be provided monthly.
River Forest has committed $1.9 million in TIF funding for the development. If trustees vote to take back the property, then the village must reimburse the developer for demolition and environmental remediation costs. The developer previously estimated demolition at $250,000 and the village’s environmental consultant estimated soil remediation at $1.2 million.
Trustee Tom Cargie took the developers to task for conditions at the site.
“You guys need to be better neighbors,” he said, noting that snow was not removed during the winter.