The optimism was as strong as the winds were gusty April 14 at a ground-breaking ceremony for the long-delayed condominium project at Lake and Lathrop in River Forest.
Putting behind the years of frustrating delays, Cory Robertson, director of developer services for Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, real estate agent for the residential project, exemplified that optimism when he said he was looking forward to a sellout celebration.
Variations of the project have been on the drawing board since before the River Forest village board approved in 2016 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. Permutations of the same project had lurched and lingered for a decade previously.
With 16 units sold, Robertson could be excused for his optimism.
“This is a big deal for us,” he said. “We couldn’t be more excited.
“The last few years have been challenging. Now it’s time to get people into their new homes.”
The original project included another story and eight more units but was scaled back.
Mark McKinney, project manager for Sedgwick Properties, a partner in Lake Lathrop Partners, said the project is currently in the concrete foundation phase with the superstructure phase to follow. According to the village website, the superstructure phase is expected to begin next month and be completed by January. Future phases include enclosure; interior buildout-rough; elevators; interior buildout-finishes; and closeout and punch list. Completion is expected by July 2023.
In his remarks, Marty Paris, Sedgwick president, said he envisioned the project as “the cornerstone of the Lake Street corridor” and expressed pride that 100 percent of the demolition material had been recycled.
Village President Cathy Adduci said the project is “incredibly exciting” for the village and thanked developers for “staying with us.” She was joined at the ceremony by Trustees Bob O’Connell and Respicio Vazquez.
On the retail side, McKinney said after the ceremony that developers are in negotiations for a 4,000 square foot restaurant that would serve as an anchor. He said interest in the remaining 10,000 square feet is “very strong.” Developers said in October that a medical tenant has committed to taking 2,500 square feet of the retail space.
Keystone Ventures was an original partner in Lake Lathrop Partners before being bought out by Sedgwick in 2020.
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.