Built in 1924, the building at 855 Lake St. in Oak Park was once known as the Oak Hotel. In recent years, the building was home to 63 efficiency apartments. In May 2018, developers Ayman and Nadeya Khalil of Icon Capital LLC purchased the building for $3.97 million and embarked on a years’ long renovation. 

Pandemic-related issues exacerbated the already heavy lift the couple had in remaking the vintage building, but they have breathed new life into a building that many thought was beyond saving.

While not classified as affordable housing by the village, in the past few decades the building was known for its low rents and deteriorating state. In 2011, when a teenager from Wisconsin died of an overdose in the building, then-Police Chief Rick Tanksley said the rundown building was often the subject of noise and burglary complaints. 


In 2019, shortly after the building was vacated, there was a fire in a few units, and the building was deemed unfit for human occupancy.

Ayman Khalil says that when he and his wife dove into the remodel work, they found that the building required even more work than they initially expected.

“You know how it goes when you open the walls and it turns into a one of those jobs where you have to do everything,” he said.

The couple have been involved in development in the Chicago area since 1997 and say the pandemic made for a lot of extra headaches. Staffing and supply-chain issues pushed the finish date back, but they are happy to finally be actively leasing in Oak Park.

They worked hard to salvage some of the original art deco elements, including the woodwork in the lobby and the decorative stonework on the exterior. 

“We tried to keep what we could,” Nadeya said. 

“We decided to feature the vintage look because that’s what this building screams at you, but we made it completely modern inside,” Ayman said.

In general, they kept to the same footprint for the building’s 64 units. Approximately 85% of the units are studio apartments that measure 400 square feet. The studios are currently renting for $1,350 to $1,450 per month. There are a handful of larger one- and two-bedroom units.

The studios feature kitchens with stainless-steel appliances and quartz countertops. A moveable island allows tenants to reconfigure their spaces. There are dishwashers and laundry in each unit. 

Parking is available for an additional fee with space for 52 cars in the building’s parking lot. Ayman Khalil notes the proximity to the Green Line.

Developer Nadeya Khalil (above, at left) and her husband, Ayman, purchased 855 Lake St. in 2018. The property manager is Salitha Graham (center) and the leasing agent is Jim Ongena (right). | Todd A. Bannor

“Some tenants just use the train, so we should have a parking spot for everybody who wants one,” he said.

A new elevator was added to the rear of the building, and Salitha Graham, the property manager for the building, is a resource for tenants.

Jim Ongena of @properties is the leasing agent and holds open houses for prospective renters every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. The first and second floors of the five-story building are essentially at capacity.

“The neighborhood has had a great reception to the building,” Ongena said. “It’s been a blast being here on the weekends.”

He says that people often stop by just to share how excited they are that the building has been rehabbed.

“There’s a positivity in the neighborhood because it sat for so long,” Ongena said.

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