10 reasons to support Comcast project

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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The sponsors of the proposed Comcast building project offer 10 reasons why we think you should support our proposed rehabilitation:

1) The project will restore a badly deteriorated commercial building that is an eyesore on Madison Street, while also restoring an important historic building and bringing back its original brick façade.

2) The renovated building will pay more property taxes to Oak Park and the school districts than the current building pays or would pay, even if a commercial tenant could be located. The renovation will increase tax revenues for the schools without adding a significant number of new students to the district.

3) The building will provide badly needed affordable housing for low income individuals who cannot currently afford to live in Oak Park, including young workers earning a minimum wage, veterans, persons with disabilities and seniors.

4) The restoration will provide 51 units of accessible housing, which is currently in short supply in Oak Park.

5) Oak Park residents and individuals working in Oak Park will be given a preference in selecting building residents.

6) The developers of the building are three respected nonprofit organizations that have more than 150 years of combined experience in developing and managing rental housing. The Oak Park Housing Authority will be a part of the development team, and its affiliate the Oak Park Residence Corp. will manage the building. Both local organizations have a long history of responsible development in this community.

7) The owners will put together a board of managers to oversee the operation and management of the building by the property management company. This board will include representation from the surrounding neighborhood.

8) The renovation will include 5,200 square feet of commercial space and further the commercial redevelopment of Madison.

9) The building will be a LEED-certified "green" building that will further Oak Park's efforts to promote sustainable development.

10) The renovation will clean up the environmental contamination of the building and adjacent parking lot that resulted from its former use as an auto dealership and service station.

If you wish to learn more about the project and why we think you should support it, we invite you to visit the website of the Oak Park Housing Authority, www.oakparkha.org.

Interfaith Housing Development Corp., Oak Park Housing Authority and Catholic Charities

Reader Comments

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OP Mom  

Posted: January 29th, 2011 2:06 AM

There is now a facebook page to spread the word about this project. Please go to and "like" http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Concerned-Citizens-Madison-Avenue-Housing-Project-Oak-Park/183305981700320

no way  

Posted: January 2nd, 2011 3:25 PM

Who is going to chip in for the additional 50-100k for educating additional students in the schools? Oh, maybe we can add that to the new referendum bill.


Posted: December 23rd, 2010 8:08 AM

(4) - the development will NOT provide 51 units of accessible housing. It will provide 5, with a vague commitment to expand if the demand is there. With an alleged waiting list of 200-400 no one will ever go to the trouble or expense to expand the accessible housing. 90% of the development is NOT for the disabled. Spin away, IHDA. The community sees right through this. I hope our Village elected officials see through it too before they make a terrible mistake.

OP Mom  

Posted: December 22nd, 2010 11:19 PM

Reminder: per the applicants they CAN NOT give preference to Oak Park residents or employees. Ken is right. They are absolutely spinning the resident profile. Both in this letter and in their presentation to the planning commission.


Posted: December 22nd, 2010 5:52 PM

(8) This seems like a tough sell to potential retailers. With so many vacant retail spaces on Madison now, does leasing in a low-income housing building present an appealing option? Project can't survive without a retail tenant? What happens if the retail space goes vacant?


Posted: December 22nd, 2010 5:51 PM

(5) I think this point is saying that OP applicants will be selected over those from outside. Again, there are already many vacant units in OP at this price point. If units are going vacant in this building will preferences and screening standards be relaxed? (6) Surprised that groups with this much experience would cling to an outdated and discredited housing model %u2014 placing this many all low-income singles in one building. Mixed income including families seems to be the best practice now.

Concerned O.P. parent from Oak Park  

Posted: December 22nd, 2010 5:49 PM

IHD failed to mention the following: They are only planning to build 5 handicap-accessible units; they won't do a soil test until the village approves their plan; they're only adding an extra $25K in taxes, a total of $85K (the extra $ covers a mere 3 students in Dist.97); they've never built in a suburb, only in transient parts of the city; the units are TINY and hardly provide for one person, much less two, warehousing and demeaning the working poor; this is a money-making venture w/investors.


Posted: December 22nd, 2010 4:51 PM

"Veterans, persons with disabilities and seniors" -- is this really who you expect to be the primary residents? These seem like cherry-picked descriptions designed to gain favor and put those in opposition in a bad light. The developers won't commit to any sort of tenant profile, yet they can roll out these specific groups when it suits their needs. Also, is there any data that supports the claim about "badly needed" housing? There are many apts. available now in OP in this price range.


Posted: December 22nd, 2010 4:48 PM

(2) Well, there's the very real potential of adding 51 more students to the district. As indicated in the proposal one child is permitted (will the appearance of a second child lead to eviction?). Also, once again, this is a short term view that assumes nothing else will ever go in to this space.


Posted: December 22nd, 2010 4:47 PM

Addressing some of the points by number: (1) %u201CHistoric building%u201D is a stretch. Building was listed as not significant architecturally in Madison Street Plan evaluation. This point assumes that no other redevelopment will ever take place. The economy will pick up and with it development activity. The potential long-term impact of this proposal outweighs the benefit of getting the building rehabbed in 2012.


Posted: December 22nd, 2010 10:44 AM


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