Madison's forgotten stretch

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That stretch of Madison Street west of Desplaines Avenue has been long overlooked by both of the villages it fronts — River Forest and Forest Park. Now after smart investment these past two years in remaking the street and sidewalks, creating a landscaped median, and through River Forest's creation of a TIF district, there are good things percolating.

In our Forest Park Review, we report today that a proposal for a high-end apartment and commercial project is moving through that village's planning process. It would replace the long-challenged Molly Malone's site with apartments that look like they came out of the bursting West Loop, likely because that is the developer's pedigree. 

Last week, the Journal reported that River Forest had made another small chess move with the acquisition of a single-family home just north of Pete's Auto on Madison Street. The village will rent out the home until a larger development plan unfolds. This purchase follows River Forest's buy of the former Lutheran Children and Family Services office building on Madison.

Finding ways to add new housing, new commercial, and new tax generation to this portion of Madison Street is smart, incremental growth for both these towns. 

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Bill Dwyer  

Posted: April 18th, 2018 9:03 AM

Actually, River Forest has, in fact, been focused on improving this stretch of Madison since at least 2005. But redevelopment there faces some unique obstacles, not the least of which is the limited footprint of the parcels on Madison. That most likely requires acquiring parcels north of Madison to allow for development on a larger, deeper footprint consistent with modern commercial development. There is a corridor plan from around 2008 or so, for anyone curious about the specifics.

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