The optimism from a groundbreaking ceremony in April is starting to fade for officials of Lake Lathrop Partners LLC, who are building a four-story, mixed-use development at Lake Street and Lathrop Avenue in River Forest.
For several months, neighbors of the proposed development, which will contain 22 condominium units and 14,000 square feet of retail space, have complained at village board meetings about high weeds, broken sidewalks and a lack of activity.
This month, village officials added their voices to the complaints, issuing nine property maintenance violations to the developer. The village’s adjudication judge found the developer liable for five of the violations, issuing fines of $690. Of the four violations dismissed, three had been remedied and the fourth was for another location.
Violations the developer was found liable for at the village’s Oct. 3 adjudication hearing included weeds over 8-feet tall, failure to properly guard trees during building repairs and failure to properly maintain stairways, decks and porches. The latter violation is to the walkway railing behind the active businesses on Lake Street. The walkway railing was loose and did not meet building code standards.
Necessary sidewalk restoration along Lake Street was completed last week by a contractor hired by the village. Village Administrator Brian Murphy said costs associated with this work will be passed on to the developer.
In response to a question from Trustee Katie Brennan at the Oct. 10 village board meeting, Murphy said the developer has until Oct. 14 to provide a revised schedule of work, which had been requested previously. The original schedule called for the superstructure phase to begin in May and be completed by January 2023, but that work has not begun.
Variations of the project have been on the drawing board since before the village board approved the proposal in 2016. The village board granted extensions to the developer in October 2018 and October 2021.
Permutations of 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.
Keystone Ventures was an original partner in Lake Lathrop Partners before being bought out by Sedgwick Properties, another partner, in 2020.
The project has experienced a series of delays over the years, including environmental cleanup from a dry cleaner formerly on the site and a lawsuit involving a tenant who did not want to move.