The Lake and Lathrop development is seen on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in River Forest. | Alex Rogals

With construction of the Lake and Lathrop project finally under way, the River Forest village board has given the developer and its financial partner an 11-day extension to finalize a construction loan for the mixed-use building.

Officials reached consensus in an executive session during the Jan. 24 village board meeting to grant the extension to  Lake Lathrop Partners LLC and its financial partner, Wintrust Community Bank. Lake Lathrop Partners is a joint venture between Sedgwick Properties and Keystone Ventures.

When officials ratified in October an ordinance approving the third amendment to the second amended and related redevelopment agreement, the developer was given until Jan. 23 to meet five specific requirements including obtaining construction financing. With the first pouring of concrete last week, the other four requirements were met. 

In reading a written statement regarding the decision, Village President Cathy Adduci said the request for the extension was related to complications associated with the coronavirus pandemic that Wintrust Bank encountered.

The Lake and Lathrop development is seen on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in River Forest, Ill. | ALEX ROGALS/Staff Photographer

 This project has been on the drawing board since before the village board approved in 2018 the proposal by Lake Lathrop Partners LLC to build a four-story, mixed-use development containing 22 condominium units and 14,000 square feet of retail space. Variations on the same project had lurched and lingered for a decade previously.

The original project included another story and eight more units but was scaled back.

The project experienced a series of delays over the years, including environmental cleanup from a dry cleaners formerly on the site and a lawsuit involving a tenant who did not want to move.

“For the Lake and Lathrop development, the village board received a request from Lake Lathrop Partners and Wintrust Bank for an extension of time for Wintrust to close on the construction loan, through Feb. 4,” Adduci read from the written statement. “The developer met all of its bona fide construction requirements prior to the Jan. 23 deadline, except that Wintrust could not finalize and close on the loan due to Omicron and COVID delays.

“The village board is willing to give Wintrust and the developer until Feb. 4 the opportunity to close on the construction loan under the unique circumstances presented by the Omicron variant. If the Feb. 4 5 pm CST deadline is not met, the village administrator and village attorney are authorized to proceed with issuing a notice of default to the developer. The village board hopes and expects that this project will move forward as planned with this accommodation.”

According to Kyle Haste, the development project manager for Sedgwick Properties, one of the developers, concrete was scheduled to be poured for five column pads on site Jan. 21. That followed rebar placement for the foundations that began the previous day and was scheduled to be completed Jan. 21. 

Earlier this month, in preparation for the deeper excavation work, the general contractor removed underground obstructions including two storage tanks once used to heat buildings on the site.  These tanks had been previously identified but required no further environmental remediation on the site.   Excavation began in December. Haste said no work had been delayed due to adverse weather conditions so far.

Although Haste said sales traffic “continues to be strong,” no additional units have been sold since October, when developers said 14 had been sold. He said interest also is “strong” in the retail space. Developers said in October that a medical tenant has committed to taking 2,500 square feet of the retail space and that three others, two restaurants and another medical firm, had expressed serious interest. 

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