River Forest officials have turned their attention to the future of Sedgwick Properties’ development at Lake Street and Lathrop Avenue less than a week after pulling the plug on the project.
Officials met with the Cook County Circuit Court appointed receiver, Walt Rebenson from Ascend Real Estate Group, on Sept. 15, and separately with representatives from Beverly Bank, a subsidiary of Wintrust, on Sept. 19 to initiate plans for the clearing, cleanup and any repairs needed at the development site at Lake Street and Lathrop Avenue.
In a news release, officials said the goal of the meetings were to ensure the property is primed and marketable for future development at “this important commercial site in River Forest.”
Both meetings took place just days after the village’s announcement on Sept. 15 that the building permit for Sedgwick Properties had been repealed and a stop work order issued. These steps were taken because Sedgwick failed to meet the requirements and conditions of the village’s 18-month building permit, which was originally issued in February 2022, officials said in the release.
“We are very pleased that in working with the receiver and the bank, a plan is now in place to clear and improve this site to make it attractive for future development,” village President Cathy Adduci said in the statement. “Our goal remains to make this site a viable and beneficial addition to this area of our village, as well as for our greater community.”
Adduci added that Beverly Bank is also invested in making improvements to the site and has stated it is committed to covering the associated costs. Among the work planned, per direction from the receiver, is the removal of construction materials and other equipment, along with fencing around the property.
Officials took initial steps Sept. 18 to repair the disturbed sidewalks near the project area to make it safe for pedestrians. They said they will be working with the receiver and the bank to recover the costs associated with that work. The sidewalks are now open to the public.
Officials explained that they waited to handle any initial improvements to the site until after Sept. 12, when the receiver was officially appointed, because work done prior to that date may not have been reimbursed by the bank.
Since 2019, important improvements have been made by the developer to the site, including investing nearly $3 million to address environmental remediation that was successfully completed prior to their building permit being issued. After that time, Sedgwick experienced several challenges, including foreclosure litigation that is ongoing, which led to a lack of progress on the project.
“We remain committed to working with the receiver and the bank to ensure a high-quality development can become a reality at Lake and Lathrop,” Adduci said.
The 22-unit mixed use condo project has gone through multiple incarnations and developers and endless delays that have stretched well over a decade. Since spring Beverly Bank has been in court seeking through foreclosure to claw back a portion of the funds it advanced for the development project. Earlier this month, a Cook County court appointed a receiver to manage the property.